Marlow narrates his tale while he is on a small vessel on the Thames with some drinking buddies who are ex-merchant seamen and the group sits in sweeping darkness and passes around the bottle when he recounts his story. "The form of Heart of Darkness and its thematics are so closely intertwined as to be virtually inseparable. Ambiguities, uncertainties, and ironies are echoed in the layered narrative structure of the novella, through which it is often impossible to be sure of one's bearings In its destiny the style has tellingly been likened to a tropical forest. This is most obviously the case with Conrad's strategy of including narratives within Marlow's narrative, and enclosing Marlow's narrative within that of another narrator." (Goonetilleke, 29) Therefore, a reflective exploration of Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness confirms that Marlow's tale is framed by a larger narrative that makes him into a kind of storyteller and this narrative structure affects Marlow's reliability as a narrator.
A careful analysis of the structure of Heart of Darkness confirms that it becomes lucid that the novelist has been effective in the use of the narrative technique of Framed Narrative, in which Marlow's...
aracter of Marlow acts as the chief link between the main story and the readers and much of the action as well as meaning in the novel is found on the periphery of the work, i.e. in what happens to Marlow in Brussels, what is happening on the Nellie as Marlow tells the story, and what happens to the reader as they read the book. "In Heart of Darkness, we have an outside narrator telling us a story he has heard from Marlow. The story Marlow tells seems to center around a man named Kurtz. However, most of what Marlow knows about Kurtz, he has learned from other people, many of whom have good reason for not being truthful to Marlow. Therefore, Marlow has to piece together much of Kurtz's story." (Themes in Heart of Darkness) It is fundamental to comprehend that Marlow is the source of the story and readers gain meaning about the various themes and actions in the novel through his narrative.
In Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness, the narrative strategy adopted by the writer, i.e. the framed narrative wherein Marlow's tale is framed by a larger narrative that makes him into a kind of storyteller, helps the author in distancing himself from the readers. Thus, it is through the character of Marlow that readers approach the real meanings in the novel and his narrative has a pertinent role in the presentation of the major themes of the novel. As Robert Hampson maintains, the most important way in which Conrad distances himself from his material is through the use of Marlow as a character as well as narrator. There are only two narrators in the novel by Conrad - Marlow and the anonymous first narrator. However, the interaction between Marlow and his audience indicates that Marlow's utterances are provided with a context whereas the utterances of the anonymous narrator are as