The Transformation Of Self-Knowledge In Joseph Conrad's Heart Of Darkness

756 Words 4 Pages
If Kurtz had died with the Intended’s literal name on his lips rather than, “the horror, the horror” (Conrad 69), conclusions about Heart of Darkness would be vastly different. In the event that this had happened, Kurtz’s journey to Africa would have been for nothing because he would not have gained the self-knowledge that is required of that of a mythic hero. The Intended considers being Kurtz’s last thought before his death to be a triumph, displaying the shallowness and ignorance of the women of European civilization’s blissful unawareness. Individuals hold the potential to uncover lies that hide the truth about civilization, however, a close examination of these truths undermines and invites an inevitable collapse of civilization. In order for a mythic hero’s journey to qualify as that of a mythic hero, it must result in the acquisition of self-knowledge. Kurtz, “an exceptional man, of the greatest importance to the Company” (Conrad 22), has a near perfect opportunity to become a mythic hero. He has been given the quest of …show more content…
When approached by Marlow in order to deliver the news of Kurtz’s passing, the Intended makes sure to affirm that “he was a remarkable man” (Conrad 75), one of which she was proud to have been involved with. Because Kurtz was so highly respected in their society, the Intended felt a sense of pride when Marlow told her: “The last word he pronounced was- your name” (Conrad 77). Although the Intended’s feeling of validation was quickly followed by sorrow and despair, her delight in feeling important as well as the apparent crashing of her world reinforce two common assumptions about women made during this time. One, that their importance is based on opinions that come from not only their male counterparts, but the male gender as a whole, and two, that a woman without a man will surely collapse on her

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