The Importance Of Kurtz In Joseph Conrad's Heart Of Darkness

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In times of distress, or in times of chaos, people will desperately look for something positive or orderly such as in Heart of Darkness (by Joseph Conrad) when Marlow stood amazed at the well-kept Chief Accountant. Even in chaotic areas however, someone may meet a charismatic individual, like how Marlow met Kurtz, and begin to obsess over that person instead of something that reminds them of home. For Marlow in Heart of Darkness, his complexity grows as he transitions from obsessing over the end of his journey, to obsessing over Kurtz and what Kurtz means for himself; as his obsession transitioned, it motivated him to continue his journey to the Inner Station and leaving the Congo with Kurtz. At the start of his journey, Marlow initially obsessed …show more content…
Marlow’s introduction to Kurtz started when the Chief Account said, “‘Oh, he will go far, very far…[h]e will be a somebody in the Administration before long. They, above---the Council in Europe, you know---mean him to be’” (23). Before Marlow met the Chief Account, he already encountered several examples of savagery in the Congo, mostly from Europeans; since he already faces his test of mental fortitude, Marlow regards the Chief Account’s words as a beacon of hope. He views the words as a sign that no matter how far a European goes into the Heart of Darkness (the heart of the Congo), he will retain his greatness and sanity. As he travels deeper into the Congo, Marlow endures the hardships of the region, with his obsession over Kurtz slowly growing and motivating him. When he speaks with the Manager, Marlow’s perception of Kurtz grows to fit a sharper model of European excellence and brilliance when Marlow says, “Then he began again, assuring me Mr. Kurtz was the best agent he had, an exceptional man, of the greatest importance to the Company…” (27). Marlow already knows how the Company only cares about the profits that come from the Congo, so when he hears that even an entity like the Company cares about Kurtz, he will come to the conclusion that Kurtz holds a significant importance in Europe and further appears as a beacon of hope in …show more content…
He learns that, “for the shade of Mr Kurtz. This initiated wraith from the back of Nowhere honoured [Marlow]...before it vanished altogether…but this must have been before [Kurtz’s]...nerves, went wrong…” (61). After having a clear comparison between the European Kurtz, and the savage Kurtz, Marlow learns how far the Darkness can bring a European down, which only influences Marlow’s obsession over Kurtz’s self and supports him to not give into the Darkness like Kurtz did. As he reads the postscript, “‘Exterminate all the brutes!’”, Marlow discovers that Kurtz fell to the Darkness and gave into the savage nature of humans and ends the beacon of hope that Marlow viewed at the start of the journey. Now, Marlow obsesses over Kurtz himself and as he analyzes Kurtz’s inner self, he begins to analyze himself and compares himself to Kurtz, which shifts Marlow from caring about Kurtz and his body, to caring about Kurtz’s ideas, person, and the effect that Kurtz had on Marlow. Marlow’s obsession over Kurtz extended past his death, and motivated Marlow to learn anything more he can about Kurtz, until he came to the conclusion that “[Kurtz] was an impenetrable darkness. [Marlow] looked at him as you [would] peer down at a man who is lying at the bottom

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