“…I arrived in a city that always makes me think of a whited sepulcher.” (pg. 9)
A sepulcher is defined as being a tomb or a place of burial. It is fitting that Marlow sees the Belgian town (probably Brussels) where the Company is located as reminiscent of a tomb. While it is light and promising on the outside, much like a stone tomb may look, but within it contains horrors and darkness. In addition to a sepulcher being defined as a tomb, the phrase ‘whited sepulcher’ has now grown to mean a person who is inwardly wicked and devious but puts forth a visage of being holy or virtuous. This new meaning comes from a passage of the Bible concerning hypocrisy, one of the major themes in Heart of Darkness. The Company is a prime example of a whited sepulcher-- they pretend that they want to make the world a better place and helpfully colonize the Congo when all they really care for is finding (or taking by force) enough ivory to keep the money coming in.