In Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad uses several motifs. Motifs are recurring literary devices that can help to develop and inform the text's major themes. One of these is the "primitive "civilized- motif, which shows that all men have both primeval and cultured impulses in them. The "primitive "civilized- motif is the dominant theme of Heart of Darkness.
Kurts, the chief of the Inner Station and the object of Marlow's quest, was asked to write a report by the International Society for Suppression of Savage Customs. It was movingly and powerfully written however scrawled at the end of the report at the foot of the page was the sentence "Exterminate all the brutes!- Kurtz exemplifies the principles and opinions with which Europeans justified imperialism. In this statement made by Kurtz it is clear that some primitive force inside him has changed him. A civilized man would not say or act as savagely as this. If it is possible for this epitome, Kurts the essence of the civilized world, to be taken over by these primeval impulses then it is very possible for all of mankind to have these urges and just as possible for the average man to succumb to these urges.
As Marlow's boat is moving up the river to locate Kurtz, he sees natives along the shore. A strange feeling overcame him. The thoughts that filled his head were "unearthly, and the men were "No, they were not inhuman. .They howled and leaped, and spun, and made horrid faces; but what thrilled you was just the thought of their humanity "like yours "the thought of your remote kinship with this wild and passionate uproar. .but if you were man enough you would admit to yourself that there was in you just the faintest trace of a response to the terrible frankness of that noise, a dim suspicion of there being a meaning in it which you "you so remote from the night of first ages "could comprehend.