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Marlow is the protagonist in Heart of Darkness and is throughout the novel, mostly the

narrator. He takes the place of a riverboat captain who died from a scuffle with the
natives. In the beginning of the novel, he does not expect the experiences he was going to
receive.
He journeys through the Congo, trying to find the man called Kurtz. However, he
becomes obsessed with meeting Kurtz, becoming more curious as he got closer towards
him. However, through his experiences at the Congo, he witnesses the violence and greed
of the Europeans and notes the similarities between the white people and the natives. He
also experiences terrible things that almost lead him to succumb to the darkness that
Kurtz becomes.

Marlow has the qualities and characteristics of a typical hero, as he is brave, tough,
capable, open minded and honest. However, he does not take action like a typical hero
would. He witnesses the natives being treated harshly and unfairly but he merely
observes the treatment and does not act upon it. However, he does frown upon the white
peoples greed and violence, which shows that he is moral and not completely racist.
It was reckless without hardihood, greedy without audacity, and cruel without courage.
He even admits that he is only an observer. He is a moral guide for the readers of the
book.
Marlow also identified himself to Kurtz, which makes his search more of an obsession.
Kurtz become a powerful attraction. He is a reflection of Kurtz, and we see what Marlow
could become from looking at Kurtz. One of the differences is that Kurtz falls into the
darkness, and Marlow narrowly escapes it. Nonetheless, it has affected him forever and
he shares his experiences at the Congo whenever he can.

Marlow also has unfavourable traits such as his sexist view of women. He sees them as
the weaker sex and believes that they should be kept safe from the harsh factors of reality.
This can be scene from the scene where Marlow visits Kurtzs intended. Marlow feels
that she will be destroyed if she learns the truth about him so he lies to her.

Marlow sees Kurtz as a hero who had shown him the limits of the mortal spirit. Kurtz
could be seen as Marlows alter ego. He believes that Kurtz will tell him things that he
has never known. It feels as if more is known about Kurtz than is known about Marlow,
even though Kurtz is a bit more than a voice.

Even though Marlow journeys to find Kurtz, what he really is trying to find is the heart of
darkness. He undoubtedly does find it, but he finds it within himself. This new wisdom
has made him look differently towards his civilized society. He claims that they will
never ever know what true strength is. He also comments that civilized societies are
ignorant and the change that he has gone through will never let him converse with these
people normally ever again.