Heart Of Darkness


In this paper I will show the effect the "Heart of Darkness" had on Kurtz in the stages prior to, the Kurtz in transition, and at the end of his journey.
The Kurtz prior to his journey was a man with a noble heart. We learn about Kurtz prior to his journey by listening to the conversations Marlow has when he returns from Africa. Marlow talked with Kurtz? cousin, an old colleague, and his Intended. Kurtz "was a universal genius" (244). The old colleague told of "how the man could talk. He electrified large meetings. He had faith?He could get himself to believe anything" (244). Marlow fully agreed with this statement. Marlow said, "This is the reason why I affirm that Kurtz was a remarkable man. He had something to say. He said it" (241).
He was one of those men who you had to admire. You HAD to love him, if you knew him. The Intended said, "she had been worthy of him" (248). She speaks of him as almost a god. The Intended promises Marlow she was worthy of him, she had all his noble confidence. Their engagement wasn?t approved because Kurtz wasn?t wealthy enough. Kurtz had the ability to draw "men towards him by what was best in them" (249). This is the gift of the great. Kurtz was a great man. He was a born leader.
The Kurtz prior to the journey seems to be a man with a heart of gold. "His goodness shone in every act" (250). But in actuality his soul was conformed by society and the "warning voice of a kind neighbor" (206). He was a man with principles just because principles were all around him. Kurtz was dependent on that kind neighbor to keep him noble.
The Kurtz in transition was a man with a heart that understands what is going on in the jungle. Kurtz is described as a first-class agent, a very remarkable person, who will go very far. Kurtz drew a painting of a woman, draped and blindfolded, carrying a lighted torch. The painting had a background that was somber-almost black. Her movements were stately, and the effect of the torch-light on the face was sinister (169). Kurtz had painted this while he was at the Central Station. This painting is Kurtz? view of the colonization of Africa. The blindfold refers to the lack of vision that the advancing civilization going into Africa has. Marlow agrees. He refers to the colonists, as "men going at it blind-as is very proper for those who tackle a darkness" (140). The torch usually means bearers of a spark from the sacred fire, bearers of Christianity. But in this sense, the torch seems to be destructive, a tool that is used to start fires on the savages? homes. This gives the sinister effect on the face. Christianity isn?t being served; the torch is being used for evil. All this means that Kurtz actually realizes all that is happening. Kurtz is beginning to understand what this foreboding evil is, the darkness all around him.
Kurtz is said to be "a prodigy?an emissary of pity, and science, and progress, and devil knows what else" (169). This was said by the "brick-maker" who didn?t make any bricks. This man realized the potential Kurtz had. A prodigy is a genius, someone with a lot of potential. As an emissary of pity he is one who represents the savages. He came to the jungle to write a paper about the savages and their customs; He was their ambassador. As an emissary of science, he was one that had great plans and ideas as to how to control the savages and not rape the land. As an emissary of progress he represented someone who could change the relationship with the savages. He came out to the jungle with moral ideas of some sort. In the end he turned it for the worse by taking advantage of them. The devil does know what else. I believe the devil was a large part of Kurtz; the darkness had sunk in along with the devil.
In the transition Kurtz realizes what the darkness does to men there. He believes that he can overcome the darkness. He believes he can bring his moral ideas and change the way they colonize the darkness. He believes he can change how the white man treats the savage. He