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Heart Of Darkness Kurtz Imperialism

Decent Essays
Heart of Darkness, a novel by Joseph Conrad provides an in depth perspective of the imperialism that invaded the Congo in the 1800’s. Marlow, our narrator, tells of his journey sailing up the Congo river in search of the most luxurious item of the time--Ivory. While sailing this twisting and deeply mystical river, Marlow hears of Kurtz, a man with a admirable reputation within their workplace known as the Company. As Marlow travels further along the Congo river he notices a distinct change of scenery. The river acts similar to a reverse timeline, and in the center of it all, lies a somewhat prehistoric culture that the Company is exploiting. Ironically, in the eyes of the Company the natives are being saved and given purpose in life, but in…show more content…
His flawed rationale of "humanizing, improving, instructing" served as the basis for his ironic downfall. Kurtz serves as the archetypical white savior yet Marlow, his unofficial protege, ultimately leads Kurtz to confront his own savagery. Joseph Conrad’s placement of imagery, irony, and juxtaposition allows the reader to discover the depth of Kurt’s character and the motivations behind his actions, making him seem human even in spite of his callous behavior.
The commander of the Company, Kurtz, is described through copious amounts of imagery that helps the reader depict the man behind all of the absurdity in the Congo. Kurtz is characterized as a towering man of great strength, but by the end of the novel he is ghastly and frail. Conrad's abundant use of imagery stresses how the darkness of Kurtz’s soul had physically manifested, resulting in a walking ghost. The imagery used by Conrad describes the Congolese as archaic, and by
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From the start Conrad pictures England and Brussels as dismal despite sun being out. This imagery gives the reader a sense of Europe being an area of despair. On the other hand, Africa, lying in the heart of the equator is known for it’s intense sunshine. Europe’s invasion of Africa, acts like a virus invading the healthy. Conrad’s use of language asserts London as the “biggest” and “greatest” city of the world. Biggest in the sense physical size, and greatest in terms of power and influence. Because Conrad stresses this juxtaposition as a main theme of this work, the reader is able to see Kurtz’s actions as more normal that one might have at first. Kurtz’s domination of the natives appears brutal, but given Europe’s history of colonization Kurtz was not abnormal. Moreover, Kurtz was not immune to the violence he ignited, and felt the ramifications severely. His final quote “the horror, the horror” shows the readers that even though he was much to blame for the violence, this last words were spoken with guilt and anguish.
When the native boy finally announced his death, Kurtz lost everything that he once firmly believed to be his: his Intended, his ivory, his station, his river and so on though he seemed to be the most successful and capable man that Marlow met during his journey towards the Inner Station. If we take a look at some of the well-known politicians in the past century, we
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