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The Horror

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The quest for knowledge is somehow destructive. This is evident as portrayed by characters in the novel Heart of Darkness. Kurtz went to the interior of Congo where he became a prominent interior manager. We are told that he fraternized with the locals until his fellow whites were mad with him. He is said to have gotten himself into the African culture got himself treasures and even had himself a mistress from there. He is said to have learned a lot from them. However, with such immense knowledge, he was called savage because he seemed to have deviated from the English ways of life. He seemed to be no longer civilized. In his quest for knowledge, Kurtz lost his home identity.

Another clear description of how quest for knowledge leads to destructive endeavor is described by Marlow who says that the journey to the interior was very risky and had many dangers and one had to discover the jungle. Furthermore, when Marlow embarks on the mission to find Kurtz, he is also interested in learning the interior. He decided to take Kurtz in his ship back to England. The local natives who demanded to have Kurtz back attacked his ship. This portrays the cost of knowing people and may go to the extent of destroying property in order to achieve their goals. Had Marlow not travelled to the interior in his quest, his ship would not have been attacked and he would not have suffered the losses. Kurtz with all his knowledge self destructs as well as destroying the two women, Mistress and Intend who were also in quest for knowledge. Kurtz becomes insane and diseased and is lonely from the separation with his people in England. However, Marlow has managed to survive the quest for knowledge and he survived. Conrad tried to show that knowledge without control would surely lead to destruction of the individual.
How are women treated and/or portrayed in Conrad's heart of darkness?

From the novel we are able to discover that Marlow did not have a female attached in his life and this is evident in page 12 where it is said that women should be assisted to continue staying in their beautiful world lest his theirs, most likely man’s, got worse, which was a better world than that of women. This statement reflects the imperialism entrenched that a man’s world is perfect and far much better than the woman’s world. The way Conrad has cast the two significant women, the Mistress and the Intended to portray the black and white theme of the book. The Mistress is an African who has strong, very striking and beautiful and is Kurt’s mistress. In contrast, Intended is colorless, not vibrant and has naivety written all over her. Mistress represents racially black or dark whereas intended racially white or light.

The Marlow description of the Intended passes a message that he is describing death. We find the conversation on page 73, where he talks of the woman getting forward in black and a pale head while she floated towards him the dark. This is a description of a ghost, which is synonymous with death. Intended also mirrors how women from Victoria are innocent since they are shielded outside world darkness. This signifies that white women have been overprotected which is detrimental to their livelihood. The Mistress is portrayed to be enlightened and through her contamination with the world’s darkness, she has been able to light a light in middle of darkness. Some sort of equality among light and dark women is evident as it is said that they both loved Kurt, they are vulnerable since they believed that Kurt could not harm them but at the end he destroys them both. Women are also viewed as sex and flesh objects, as Mistress was Kurt’s object for sexual satisfaction.

Why does Marlowe lie to Kurtz's fiancée at the end of the Heart of darkness?

Marlow had heard of Kurtz who was a very successful Manager of Inner Station. He had not paid attention to this man and neither was he moved when the accountant commented that he, Marlow would meet with Kurtz in the interior, page 74. Marlow gets interested in Kurtz when he hears that Kurtz lived in the jungle. He decides to go on lookout for this man. We are further told that Kurtz had formed great association with the natives in Congo, something that did not auger well with the fellow white settlers. Marlow was therefore to go and speak sense into Kurtz since he had refused to go back to England and was seemed to have conformed to the natives ways of lives. In a different light, Marlow is seen questioning the imperial system, which was said to be civilized page 43. Marlow yearns to understand what thing that Kurtz had learned in order to become such successful Interior Manager.

Through his quest to get Kurtz, Marlow realizes that all men are equal. Marlow finally locates Kurtz and finds him not in sane because of a certain disease and loneliness. He had also given himself to a god of a small tribe there. Marlow iterates that Kurtz had became a savage and whether they were civilized Englishmen; they were the same as the natives. We are shown of Kurtz greed when he  said in part 2, that Intended , Kurtz fiancée, ivory , station ,river ,everything belonged to Kurtz .from this we are shown the number darkness powers that claimed white people of imperial English  (Part 2 ). Marlow has to hide the truth to Intend in order to protect her from the truths that he had discovered about Kurtz. He did not the English woman to think low of her English man. In doing so, he thought he was defending the light of civilization.
What is: The horror! The horror"(154) that Kurtz relates to Marlow before he dies?

Darkness is used in Heart of Darkness in its various forms to represent the Victorian age which is has been used to symbolize the unknown, the dark motives of civilization or the uncivilized. Darkness has also been used to mirror dark inclinations of males, and Kurtz is used to reflect on these characters. Darkness has been used both symbolically as well as literally in the book. Kurtz’s dying words portrays the books theme of darkness. The horror that he is referring to is the failure of the man to establish what horror is which is opposite of what he feels that he ought to be done. Darkness in the sense that one is doing the right thing in which he believes in but to Kurtz, he did the opposite and did not realize until greed and other things that contravened morality finished him. Through his words in part 3 had forewarned of these.

Through Marlow, Kurtz is described as being mad but later to be revealed that he was multitalented man who was a gifted musician, an eloquent writer, a gifted leader as well as being a fine painter. He is described as able to work with whites very well as well as with the natives in Congo. His own doings, we are shown, are the ones that brought him down, as we are shown in the light where his gifts tend to wear down. The close rapport he had with the natives eked his fellow whites which results in Marlow trying to forcefully take Kurtz back to civilization to no avail. The natives attack Marlow’s ship, demand to have Kurtz back and it is from this point that Marlow begins to comprehend Kurtz. At times he views Kurtz as being insane, at other times as being hollow, yet in other times he views him as being very remarkable person. All in all Kurtz is portrayed as being neither good nor evil. All he has been displayed is that he is very greedy part 2 which shows the things that belonged to Kurtz.

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