Kurtz Analysis - Heart of Darkness

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Kurtz Analysis – Heart of Darkness The character of Mr. Kurtz in Joseph Conrad’s novella Heart of Darkness is one made up of symbols and curiosity. The central idea of this novel, “darkness is the true nature of our world,” reaches deep into the veins of the story. This type of darkness will break humans, as it did to Kurtz. Through Marlow’s narration, we can see how Kurtz, who came to Africa full of hopes, deteriorated physically and eventually, spiritually. Kurtz, an ivory trader, was sent by a Belgian company into the heart of the Congo. With the aid of his superior technology, Kurtz turned himself into somewhat of a demigod of all the tribes surrounding his station all while gathering vast quantities of ivory in this way. Kurtz at one point was an imperialist and a strong believer of the "white man's burden," however, over the course of his stay in Africa, Kurtz becomes corrupted, and it is this corruption that ends up becoming a key symbol and theme to the novella. Kurtz, driven by two temptations, the desire to make a fortune through ivory and the desire to discover kinship with the savages, yielded to their combined power by using his authority as deity to help him attain his goals. Kurtz had lived in the Congo, and was separated from his own culture for quite some time. He had once been considered an honorable man, but the jungle changed him greatly. Here isolated from the rest of his own society, he discovered the evil side and became corrupted by his power and isolation. He takes his pamphlet for the “International Society for the Suppression of Savage Customs” and scribbles in, at the very end, the words "Exterminate all the brutes!" He induces the natives to worship him, setting up rituals worthy of a tyrant. By the time Marlow, the protagonist, sees Kurtz, he is ill with "jungle fever" and almost dead. Marlow seizes Kurtz and plans to take him back

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