Theme Of Characterism In Joseph Conrad's Heart Of Darkness

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Myths and rumors are easily altered into unbelievable stories that are far from the actual truth. Joseph Conrad 's Heart of Darkness shows the progression of a myth about Kurtz, and how the stories do not match the reality of Kurtz. Every story that occurs during Marlow’s trip down the river increases the expectations of Kurtz. Marlow’s desperation to meet Kurtz increases as well, but when Marlow finally meets Kurtz he is disappointed. Kurtz’s legend creates an unrealistic idea of him, but his inefficacy reveals the reality of human nature, and the effects of different environments. Marlow hears many stories from the people he meets during his trip down the Congo. The first mention of Kurtz is when Marlow is at the station, and the accountant …show more content…
When Marlow reaches the interior station that Kurtz is suppose to be running, he first sees “as if by enchantment, streams of human beings—of naked human beings—with spears in their hands, with bows, with shields, with wild glances and savage movements, were poured into the clearing by the dark-faced and pensive forest (100). The first thing that Marlow sees of Kurtz’s is speared human bodies, being displayed at the entrance as symbols of Kurtz’s power. Marlow has travelled down the Congo in hopes of finding and saving Kurtz, and returning to England with the legendary Kurtz. The display of humans could easily turn anybody away from their task, but Marlow continues to the station, and is not discouraged from the disturbing display. The display also represents the power and fear that Kurtz has, and is a constant reminder of what he can do if anyone tries to rebel against his authority. After the many stories and what he just saw, Marlow has developed an expectation of Kurtz, and believes that the myth and reality will be the same. Marlow envisions an all mighty, strong man, but Kurtz’s actual physical capability is very weak, and unappealing. “I could see the cage of his ribs all astir, the bones of his arm waving. It was as though an animated image of death carved out of old ivory had been shaking its hand with menaces at a motionless crowd of men made of …show more content…
Conrad introduces Kurtz through anecdotes, which provides Marlow with multiple accounts of this magnificent agent, and with very new story Marlow becomes more intrigued with meeting Kurtz. However, when Marlow final does meet Kurtz, he is no longer the fantastic agent alluded to in the accounts. While Marlow could see Kurtz as what he has become, the natives and the Harlequin could only see what he once was. Conrad also uses the disappointment of Kurtz to show how often people and societies fall short of their lofty goals, and are reduced to egotistical activities. Society is often blind to the harsh realities of life, and people become more focused on how something can benefit them that they lose sight of the people they are harming to get what they

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