Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness is full of hypocrisy. Though the Europeans, who are hypocritical in several aspects, are the main hypocrites in the story, Marlow too is quite the hypocrite. The Europeans are hypocrites for they claim to be going on a colonial journey to bring enlightment to the ignorant yet their sole purpose is greed. The Europeans are also hypocrites because while they criticize the natives fore being savage, they too are beginning to act and become savage. Next, Marlow is a hypocrite for criticizing the Europeans for being racist yet he makes several blatant racist remarks. While Conrad attempts to portray the Europeans as noble civilized people the only thing accomplished is showing the how hypocritical Europeans are.
Hypocrisy is to say or stress one thing yet to practice another. The Europeans have led themselves to believe they are the divine creatures of the earth and as such are inclined to carry the "white man's burden" (R. Kipling). This is the idea that as the supreme being, the man, is responsible for all of the people of the world. In attempts to fulfill this duty, the Europeans claim to be going to Africa to enlighten the people there, yet they are only going for their own selfish purposes. Not only are the Europeans being hypocritical in colonizing, but they are attempting to do so blindfolded as depicted in the photo Marlow sees. The Europeans clearly display the hypocrisy of colonialism. .
Kurtz, whose "method is unsound," poses the perfect example of the hypocritical European. Kurtz has completely forgotten the original reason for which he has come to Africa (61). The method that Kurtz carries out is illogical because not only is he being greedy, he kills people for unnecessary reasons and decorates his camp with their heads. The fact that Kurtz carries out these inhuman tasks also contradicts the Europeans perception of them being a noble and civilized people.