Heart Of Darkness Character Analysis

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The novelist Laurence Sterne once wrote, “No body, but he who has felt it, can conceive what a plaguing thing it is to have a man’s mind torn asunder by two projects of equal strength, both obstinately pulling in a contrary direction at the same time.” In the novel Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad there are two characters whose minds are being torn in two. One of these characters is the mysterious Kurtz. Kurtz is the commander of a trading post for a corrupt company who trades ivory. While he works for corrupt company and does disgusting things, he also has a set of morals. Throughout the novel Kurtz shows the struggle between wanting and gaining personal wealth and being a decent human being.
Throughout the journey, Marlow continues to
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Not only does the company treat the Africans badly, they do not even see them as human. The company in England, as well as the much of Europe, has the idea that because the Africans are “less advanced”, they are not civilized. Thinking this allows for the mistreatment of the Africans. When Kurtz first arrived in Africa, he presumably thought the same as the other Englishmen. As Kurtz spends more time with the Africans, he begins to change his mindset about the African’s lifestyle and begins to accept it.
Over time, Kurtz comes to the realization that the Africans are truly humans and are civilized in their own way. Kurtz knows that the Africans are cannibals and that they act in ways that seem inhumane to Europeans, but he comes to the same realization that Marlow later does. Marlow learns that it is restraint that makes a person civil when he thinks, “why in the name of all gnawing devils of hunger they didn't go for us - they were thirty to five - and have a good tuck-in for once, amazes me now when I think of it"(400). Kurtz recognizes what makes people civil. It is not the clothes they wear or the customs they have, it is whether they can control themselves and have restraint when dealing with others. This influences Kurtz’ outlook on civilization and the Africans.
Once Kurtz recognized the Africans as humans and acknowledged their lifestyle as civilized, he began to
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