September 6th, 2010

Heart of Darkness–Kurtz

Posted by jeannem in Uncategorized

What happened to Kurtz?

            Well, in the end we all know that Kurtz ends up dying, but that’s not what the question is really asking, is it?

            As Marlow talks to Kurtz’s fiancé, he finds out a little about Kurtz’s life before he left for Africa.  Apparently, he was nobody.  He was a poor man who was thought not to be good enough for his fiancé who seems to come from some type of money.  She states that, that might be the reason why Kurtz left for Africa in the first place, so he could make a name or himself or something to that effect.

            When Marlow finally meets Kurtz, we learn that he is just an ordinary man who has gone mad.  It seems as though Africa has changed Kurtz, given him a sort of God complex.  He says all these things like I’m not done here and I will return.  The people are begging for him not to take Kurtz away – they must see him as some kind of God – which feeds even more so into his complex. 

            Also, going back to the idea that Africa has changed Kurtz, Marlow keeps making all these remarks about Kurtz getting lost in the wilderness and being buried in the earth.  It seems as though Africa being far away from home, and being so strange and so different, had had some huge impact on Kurtz’s psyche. 

            When Marlow first meets Kurtz, he doesn’t like him one bit.  He spends the whole trip, this horrible, trouble ridden trip, trying to get to the Inner station in order to meet this mysterious God like man who he has heard so much about.  It builds and builds and builds throughout the book and when Marlow finally sees this man for himself, he decides that Kurtz is no more than a man that has lost his mind.

            Marlow spends a good amount of time with Kurtz before he dies and he comes to realize that his first impression of Kurtz was wrong.  After the death, Kurtz’s last words, and all his words actually, stay with Marlow, and he ultimately become one of Kurtz’s disciples in the end.

            He draws parallels between his life and Kurtz.  He makes the point that they have both have been within an inch of death, and while Marlow could think of nothing to say, Kurtz could. Kurtz could continue to use his strength, his words, even in the face of death, and according to Marlow, this makes him a remarkable man.  He also makes man references to a flame in Kurtz’s eyes where he himself could not see it.  It can be assumed that Marlow is under the assumption that Kurtz was a remarkable man because he was strong, even in death.

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One Response to ' Heart of Darkness–Kurtz '

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  1.    b gross said,

    on September 7th, 2010 at 10:14 am


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