Marlow was employed to transport the ivory downriver; however, his major and important pressing assignment was to return Kurtz, of the ivory trader. This symbolic story is basically a story within a story, or known as the frame narrative. It also follows Marlow as he also recounts, from the dusk through to the late night, his main adventure into the Congo towards a group of men who boarded a ship anchored in the Thames Estuary. It should also be noted from a structuralist and main point of view that Marlow was also the name of a town which was situated on the Thames, upstream from London. (Conrad and Najder, 137)
Set during the era of the heightened competition for all the imperial territories that most of the historians have termed the New Imperialism, the Heart of Darkness was loosely based on the Conrad's observations and experience during a six-month stint, in the year 1890, in the Congo as being an employee of a Belgian company. This was almost five years after the coferenece 1884-1885 Berlin, a meeting of different representatives of the European powers was held in order to establish the terms according to which most of the continent of Africa would be then divided among them. During this meeting, King Leopold II of Belgium, by playing skillfully with the jealousies and fears of the rival powers off one another, astonishingly tries to be managed in order to secure as his own personal property of the central Africa that is, a territory of about seventy-five times the size of the country which he had ruled. Under the various humanitarian pretenses, Leopold's agents, who had also begun the process of the conquest several years earlier, also effectively turned the Congo Free State into a camp known as an enormous forced labor camp in order to do the extraction of ivory and, after this, the worldwide rubber also boom in the early 1890s following the popularization of the tire, rubber. Along with this, in order to outright the murders, the slave labor conditions also led to many deaths from the starvation and disease as well as a declining birth rate. During an era in which most of the Europeans viewed the imperialism as a legitimate, most of the falling circumstances of the Leopold's Congo also led to an international outrage. The Conservative demographic estimates therefore place the region's depopulation toll between the 1880 and 1920 at around 10 million people that is around half of the total population along with the worst of the carnage which was occurring between 1890 and 1910. Not much was really known outside the Africa about the conditions of the Leopold's rule when Conrad was also there, but in the several upcoming years before he began writing the Heart of Darkness, in 1898, it also became an international scandal, and most of the regular reports appeared in the British and also in the European press denouncing all the abuses.
When he was writing for Blackwood's Magazine, Britain was in its last years of his Victorian rule. Britain was one of the most powerful and also an influential nation on Earth; its Empire was also spread throughout Europe, Africa and Asia. Joseph Conrad was born in the Ukraine in 1857.