Throughout the first two parts of Joseph Conrad's book, Heart of Darkness, the character Kurtz is built up to be this amazing and remarkable man. In the third book, however, we learn the truth about who Kurtz really is. Kurtz cries out in a whisper, "The horror! The horror!"(p. 86), and in only two words he manages to sum up the realization of all the horrors of his life during his time in the Congo.
Both Kingsolver and Conrad use similar story construction and point of view in these texts. The truly pivotal characters in each text, rather than the narrators, are the mostly unspoken antagonists of the story. In Heart of Darkness, the story is centered on Kurtz and his actions involving the Congo. The true focus of the novella lies not with Marlow, but rather Conrad uses Marlow as a medium in order to examine Kurtz. In the novella, Marlow is an outside observer. The story follows Marlow’s ever-changing perception of Kurtz in order to characterize the unseen character. When Marlow first learns of Kurtz, he is told that he is “a remarkable person…a prodigy” (Conrad 69), but as the story progresses, both Marlow and the reader delve into Kurtz’s true character and discover a tyrant of imperialism.
Joseph Conrad uses charazation in the novella Heart of Darkness to show how appalling imperialism truly is. Characters such as Kurtz, the accountant, and the pilgrims plays bigger role than just existing for Marlow’s story. The biggest character in the novella other than Marlow is Kurtz. Kurtz represents a wide variety of different things. He is the perfect example of the insanity imperialism can breed in people. He displays what horrors of imperialism can turn people into. From the second Marlow gets to the Congo everyone admires and
In Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, the author fiercely challenges imperialism. Through this challenge, he demonstrates the internal battles of good and evil. In his work, he also displays issues of personal morals and alienation. At the time the novella was written, Europe had established territories across the map. It holds true that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely, especially when said power reigns over the fate of humans in society. Conrad illustrates the corruption of power through the books’ motif of darkness and the renegade of Kurtz.
Kurtz was a personal embodiment, a dramatization, of all that Conrad felt of futility, degradation, and horror in what the Europeans in the Congo called 'progress,' which meant the exploitation of the natives by every variety of cruelty and treachery known to greedy man. Kurtz was to Marlow, penetrating this country, a name, constantly recurring in people's talk, for cleverness and enterprise. Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness is a portrait of the degeneration of the ideal of Kurtz symbolizing the degeneration of the ideal of colonialism as 'civilizing work'.
As Kurtz’s title grows, he is able to work his way into the natives’ minds. He becomes their leader, even though he is an outsider. Little does Marlow know, Kurtz’s corruptness and his imperialistic and colonialist efforts to rule the African land would become his demise. In the end, Marlow understands that Kurtz is not all he is made out to be, and finds that his practices are harsher than necessary as he reads in Kurtz’s book his plans to “Exterminate all the brutes!” (50). Kurtz is referring to the natives he befriends and uses to his advantage. While Marlow and Kurtz move throughout the Congo as foreigners of a “First World” country, the Natives of the Congo are forces reconcile with Kurtz’s colonization and rule of their land and over their people. What Conrad presents in Heart of Darkness are the dangers of naiveté regarding “First World” practices of imperialism and colonialism, and then becoming aware, as Marlow gradually does, of their implications.
In the context of this story, the word “primal” is used to describe something that is innate and instinctive. The word “primitive”, on the other hand, is used to describe something that is rudimentary. There is a fine line that exists between these two terms, but the distinction is a necessity in the analysis and understanding of concepts and characters that exist within Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness.
Joseph Conrad's novella, Heart of Darkness, describes a life-altering journey that the protagonist, Marlow, experiences in the African Congo. The story explores the historical period of colonialism in Africa to exemplify Marlow's struggles. Marlow, like other Europeans of his time, is brought up to believe certain things about colonialism, but his views change as he experiences colonialism first hand. This essay will explore Marlow's view of colonialism, which is shaped through his experiences and also from his relation to Kurtz. Marlow's understanding of Kurtz's experiences show him the effects colonialism can have on a man's soul.
Heart of Darkness written by Joseph Conrad is dramatic tale of an arduous trek into the darkest part of Africa at the turn of the twentieth century. The story follows the protagonist Marlow, an English marine merchant, as he travels through the African jungle up the Congo river in search for a mysterious man named Kurtz. Through Marlow's narration, Conrad provides a searing indictment of European colonial exploitation inflicted upon African natives. Through his use of irony, characters, and symbolism in the novel, Conrad aims to unveil the underlying horrors of colonialism. By shedding light on the brutality of colonialism in Heart of Darkness, Conrad shows that European values have been irrevocably eclipsed by darkness.
In Heart of Darkness, Kurtz is depicted as an upstanding European who has been transformed by his time in the jungle- being away from the society he was used to that could have prevented him from becoming such a tyrant. I have experienced being in a situation where I was very different from the people around me. It forced me to figure out their interests so I was able to join in on their conversations. By the end of the day, I no longer felt alone. So that experience taught me that I am going to come across diversity in life, but I need to be open and accepting of it. If I had chosen to just be shy, I wouldn’t have learned this lesson. I didn’t find myself being pulled toward base, cruel instincts as Kurtz, but I think that’s because Kurtz had no one to control him. If a person gains that much power, it may lead to the transformation that Kurtz experienced. –pg. 144 “But his soul was mad. Being alone in the wilderness, it had looked within itself, and, by heavens! I tell you, it had gone mad.”
Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness is full of oppositions. The most obvious is the juxtaposition of darkness and light, which are both present from the very beginning, in imagery and in metaphor. The novella is a puzzling mixture of anti-imperialism and racism, civilization and savagery, idealism and nihilism. How can they be reconciled? The final scene, in which Marlow confronts Kurtz's Intended, might be expected to provide resolution. However, it seems, instead, merely to focus the dilemmas in the book, rather than solving them.
Darkness is a major theme in The Heart of Darkness. Kurtz is unaware of his own darkness which leads to his downfall. He cannot see what kind of person he has become and how the darkness of the jungle has completely taken over him. The jungle is so secluded and mysterious that it actually influences Kurtz’s bad behavior. Kurtz becomes greedy and powerful but never realizes that this behavior is bringing him down until he is on the verge of death. Kurtz last words, “The horror! The horror!”(63) show Kurtz’s realization that the darkness had consumed him. Kurtz himself is one of the biggest examples of darkness in this book.
Marlow's journey leads him in an urgent search for Kurtz, the one man who can provide him with the truth about himself. Like Marlow, Kurtz came to the Congo in hopes to bring "light" and civilization to a backwards society. He is a highly-educated, refined gentlemen; yet, in the end, the brutal nature of the Congo forces him to resort to the life of a murderer and pilferer. The name Kurtz itself has symbolic meaning. "The physical shortness in Kurtz implies a shortness of character and spirit" (Heart of Darkness: A systematic evaluation). Marlow and Kurtz both symbolize the two conditions of human nature. "Kurtz represents what man could become if left to his own intrinsic devices outside protective society. Marlow represents a pure untainted civilized soul who has not been drawn to savagery by a dark, alienated jungle." (Heart of Darkness: A systematic evaluation). When the two come face to face, each man sees a reflection of what he might have become in the other. In Kurtz, Marlow sees the potential
The constant change in scenery throughout the Heart of Darkness contributes heavily to the meaning of the novel as a whole, for it allows the novel’s author, Joseph Conrad, to expand on the effects the physical journey of travelling through the Congo has on the inner mentailites of the characters- Marlow and Kurtz- in the novel. Conrad’s continuous comparisons between characters, their surroundings, and the plot, create the genuine progression of the novel, while the physical journey that is taken allows the characters to make their own discovery of humankind. As Kurtz’s destiny and the struggles he overcomes go on to deeply affect the two characters’ journey through the story’s plot, as everything in the Heart of Darkness is linked or comes back to Kurtz and all the wrongful actions he has committed in the Congo- as he was the perpetrator of all the darkness in the novel to begin with.
He witnesses the heart of darkness. The absolutely corrupted evil mind by greed and thirst for power. Kurtz has become an insane godlike slaver and leader in a native African tribe. He developed extremely high level of self importance and as the result he disconnected with the world and reality. Although, Kurtz started out like Marlow, as noble conqueror. However, there was nobody to check on him, he had no supervisor and as Marlow often said - Kurtz could not restrain himself from the temptation. He entered a state of mind where had no borders anymore, slaying down other tribes and killing for wealth without showing any kind of remorse. For him it became normal or even natural. Kurtz's godlike side also prevails where he claims around him