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

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Throughout the nineteenth century and early twentieth century, European countries began to expand and dominant *”dominate over”* weaker countries around the world, and eventually overtook the whole continent of Africa. European super powers like Great Britain and France began to shift their attention towards inflicting rule upon economic, cultural and political aspects of the countries they overpowered—this is known as Imperialism. Along with imperialists imposing their culture on natives, they also ran rampant through their villages, setting them ablaze, and enslaving their people. Imperialism may have introduced new technologies like the steam-powered vessels, or modernity as a whole, but with this, there were major drawbacks. Imperialism often reflected and …show more content…
The evidence of an abuse of the power gained by the European super powers was now clear; they controlled practically the whole continent of Africa (and also countries in the east such as India), and they did all of this by forcible control of land and native people. Much of the greed that circulated throughout these new found lands was due to the abundance of new resources; such as gold, slaves, and the most sought after—ivory. Conrad’s novel, Heart of Darkness, also shows the greed presented by imperialists. Another character in the story is Kurtz, a charismatic man of many talents. Kurtz is a defining symbol throughout the novel who represents imperialist greed. Marlow is told before meeting Kurtz that he “…sends in as much ivory as all the others put together” (Conrad, 21). Kurtz is synonymous with ivory, and ivory symbolizes the greed in the novel. Men during the Imperialism era are known to have gone off the rails in the pursuit of ivory by mistreating the colonial people and allowing the desire of this much sought after material to consume their lives, much like Kurtz

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