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Discuss the character of Kurtz in Heart of Darkness Kurtz, "a universal genius", is a

musician by profession. He also wrote for newspapers. Physically Kurtz "looked at


least seven feet long." He had a family; his mother and his fiance. Kurtz wanted to
earn money for his family. Therefore, he decided to join the Company and went to
Africa. Marlow feels for Kurtz that he was poor enough to go out into that dark
wilderness:. Once in Africa, Kurtz had realized the importance of making money
through ivory and it was not possible without savagery, a practice of the "torchbearers
of Europe" that wanted to "exterminate all the brutes" for snatching ivory and making
them work as slaves. Kurtz is also a symbol of European plundering and loot in the
heart of Africa, Congo. Kurtz roamed about and discovered villages and a lake "but
mostly his expeditions had been for ivory". Kurtz had a "good lot of cartridges" and
"he raided the country" and "Kurtz got the tribe to follow him" and "they adored him".
Kurtz came to the natives "with thunder and lightning, you know-and they had never
seen anything like it-and very terrible. He could be very terrible". The Russian tells
that Kurtz had power and such a strong influence in the town that he could get
anything that he liked. He was a king without crown: "there was nothing on earth to
prevent him killing whom he jolly well pleased". Kurtz is also represents the lust of
wealth and the madness of European civilization which didn't spare its brotherly
human races from its devilish plans. The Russian that nursed and served Kurtz during
his illness was also not spared by him. The Russian reminds Marlow that "you can't
judge Mr. Kurtz as you would an ordinary man". He tells him an instance of Kurtz'
lust for ivory: "I had a small lot of ivory the chief of that village near my house gave
me. You see I used to shoot game for them. Well, he wanted it, and wouldn't hear
reason. He declared he would shoot me unless I gave him the ivory and then cleared
out of the country". Kurtz is a victim of the clash between the new and the old. The
"wilderness had found him out early, and had taken on him a terrible vengeance for
the fantastic invasion". He further told Marlow that it seemed that the wilderness
whispered to Kurtz and "the whisper had proved irresistibly fascinating. It echoed
loudly within him because he was hollow at the core". Kurtz could not distinguish the
difference between truth and reality. He went after ivory, the shadow, and forgot of the
real happiness of life which existed merely in living peacefully with nature. So, if
Kurtz was caught by lust of his inner darkness, he was also captured by the gloomy
revenge of the outer wilderness. Kurtz is the truth of which is discovered by Marlow
while Kurtz was unable to ascertain the reality of his own being; he seemed to have
understood it very late though. The truth forced Kurtz to go back into the village by
leaving the rescue boat of Marlow. His attempt failed because Marlow followed him
in this savage and dreadful night:. Marlow brought him back but he could not bring
back his soul, his yearning and his will of staying back in the dark of Congo:
Heart of Darkness: The Two-
Sided Mask of Kurtz
Well-known American novelist Nathaniel Hawthorne once said “No man, for
any considerable period, can wear one face to himself, and another to the
multitude, without finally getting bewildered as to which may be true”
(“Quotes about Masks”). This quote relates to how in society everyone must be
able to show an attitude, a facade, something that makes them acceptable to
society. But even when trying to show what makes a person acceptable in
society, they must also hide something or wear a mask over their true self.
However, there does come a time when those who continue to hide
themselves, can no longer differentiate between the mask and what lies behind
it. This can be known as the creation of a persona.

What is a persona?
The persona was first introduced by Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung, who defined
the persona as “a kind of mask designed on the one hand to make a definite
impression upon others, and on the other to conceal the true nature of the
individual” (“Persona (psychology)”). The term “persona” can be best linked in
today’s society as character roles that are played by an actor. The word is
derived from the Latin term of the same name which referred to the masks
worn by Etruscan mimes (“Persona”).

In Joseph Conrad’s 1902 English novella, Heart of Darkness, a character by the


name of Mr. Kurtz demonstrates an internal battle between that of the good
and evil within himself, using the ideals of morals and alienation. In this
novella that focuses on the human psyche, the reader explores Kurtz’s
transformation in three consecutive chapters: the darkness foreshadows itself
in part one, describes its footpath in the second part, and finally presents itself
in part three. The reason for the mystery behind Kurtz lies in the multiple
masks and personas that he commonly wears throughout the story and
wondering as to which of his personas is his true personality.
In terms of literature, the reader can see Kurtz, most simply, as he resembles
the archetypal “evil genius”, the highly gifted but ultimately degenerate
individual whose fall is the stuff of legends. Some other examples in literature
of characters having a similar mindset to that of Kurtz being Faust
from Paradise Lost, Dorian Gray from The Picture of Dorian Gray, and Heathcliff
from Wuthering Heights. “Like these characters, he is significant both for his
style and eloquence and for his grandiose, almost megalomaniacal scheming.
In a world of mundanely malicious men and ‘flabby devils’ attracting enough
attention to be worthy of damnation is indeed something” (“Heart of
Darkness- Kurtz Analysis”).
Who is Kurtz?
Kurtz as he appeared in the film “Apocalypse Now.”

"a universal genius", is a musician by profession. He also wrote for newspapers.


Physically Kurtz "looked at least seven feet long." He had a family; his mother and his
fiance. Kurtz wanted to earn money for his family. Therefore, he decided to join the
Company and went to Africa. Kurtz is an ivory trader, sent by a shadowy Belgian
company into the heart of an unnamed place in Africa. With the help of his
superior technology, Kurtz has turned himself into a charismatic demigod of
all the tribes surrounding his station, and gathered vast quantities of ivory in
this way. As a result, his name is known throughout the region. Kurtz’s general
manager is jealous of Kurtz, and plots his downfall.

Kurtz’s mother was half-English, while his father was half-French, and thus it
is considered that all Europe contributed to the making of Kurtz. Everyone
who knows Kurtz (even his fiancée) agrees that Kurtz has all of the potential
ambition, charisma, and eloquence to achieve greatness. Kurtz is even known
to be a multitalented man being known for his skills as a painter, musician,
writer, and a promising politician – the chief of which are his charisma and his
ability to lead men.

He starts out, years before the novel begins, as an imperialist in the best
tradition of the “white man’s burden.” The reader is introduced to a painting
of Kurtz’s, depicting a blindfolded woman bearing a torch against a nearly
black background, and clearly symbolic of his former views. Kurtz is also the
author of a pamphlet regarding the civilization of the natives. Kurtz is a man
who understands the power of his own words, and his writings are “marked by
an eloquence that obscures their horrifying message” (“Heart of Darkness-
Character Bios”).

At the time the novella was written, Europe had established territories across
the map. It holds true to the concept of “power corrupts and absolute power
corrupts absolutely.” This becomes especially true when the power in
question, is the power to reign over the fate of a large group of humans within
a society. The main theme of “darkness” takes centre stage, as majority of its
importance when Marlow encounters his idol, Kurtz.

The Transformation Within Kurtz


As previously mentioned, Kurtz has been known to clearly exercise a powerful
influence on the people in his life. In the story, Kurtz represents a normal—if
motivated—man who realizes that he has to flourish in the Interior of the
Congo. He must use his skills in creating a persona, a mask, that would make
the people see him as a superior being, someone who can act as a divine ruler
over these “primitive” people and bring them towards the proverbial light and
development.

However, could it be said that the way in which Kurtz manipulates people to
his will and his image as that of divinity is actually a façade? It is this power
and persona that takes over as Kurtz considers himself to be that of god-like
image and perfection. Basically, Kurtz’s philosophy on this and the use of his
persona can be considered “If you can’t beat them, join the attitude.”

In another point of view, Kurtz can be seen as “hollow.” Indeed, Kurtz is not so
much a fully realized individual as he is a series of images, constructed by
others for their own use or something for them to believe in. After Marlow
hears from a sick man about Kurtz being a “remarkable man” (Conrad 307),
Marlow continues to slowly gain interest in the mysterious man known as
Kurtz. As Marlow’s visits with Kurtz’s cousin, the Belgian journalist, and
Kurtz’s betrothed demonstrated in their varied statements, there seems to be
no true Kurtz. To his cousin, he was a great musician; to the journalist, a
wonderful politician and leader of men; even to his fiancée, who claimed to
“know him best” (Conrad 352), he is considered a great humanitarian and
prodigy. All of these showing clear distinctions especially compared with
Marlow’s version of the man, and thus he is left doubting the validity of his
own memories. While in truth, it is that Kurtz has simply shown each of these
people a different mask and persona as if it were perfectly and specifically
crafted for each respective individual.

Kurtz’ ability to adapt his persona is more focused on being used towards
whatever he feels might benefit himself as a vessel more than as a person.
Kurtz’s plan for “greatness” and his persona are both easily adapted from
being the hero of the Company to being the divine being of an African tribe.
Unlike the other characters in the story, Kurtz views the natives as far more
than instruments to be used for the purpose of work. Instead, Kurtz sees
something far beyond that, as he uses their humanity to advance himself.
Because of this, Kurtz’ corrupt persona became more and more considered to
be his own “true self” as he believed that he has become far more enlightened
through his corruption and his ultimate claim towards being that of divinity,
thus losing his own original identity. The inner modification that Kurtz’s
personality goes through is best described by article writer, Suzanne Fields, as
“The fictional hero was himself, larger than life, moving from idealism — from
believing he was a civilizing force — to descending into the darkness of his
own making in a carnival of barbarity” (“RealClearPolitics – Articles – Heart of
Darkness”).
The severed heads in front of Kurtz’s home in the congo.

Marlow makes sure to inform his listeners that, although the man’s
intelligence is clear, Kurtz’s inner essence and personality has become twisted.
Kurtz’s madness can be displayed in many ways as Marlow observes him in
the Congo. One of the most notable signs of Kurtz’s corrupt power is
demonstrated by the impaled heads on sticks that led to Kurtz’s home.

The impaled heads being of those that defiled Kurtz’s divinity. It could even be
said that Kurtz’s mind has even become as rotten as the decapitated heads that
he collected.

Even Kurtz’s own bodily sickness can be considered a reflection of his diseased
mind and the dying of his true persona that his madness has infected. His
slow, painful spiral into death is marked by visions and unintelligible ravings.
Parts of the narrative recount the emptiness of Kurtz’s soul; this may be a
commentary on the debilitating and devastating power of the wilderness to
suck all the humanity out of a man\Lastly, the famous final words of Kurtz
before being silence on his deathbed being “The horror! The horror!” (Conrad
351) Marlow interprets this for his listeners, saying that these words are the
moment Kurtz realizes exactly how depraved human nature is—that his
inability to exert even a shred of self-control is the same darkness in every
human heart. It can even be interpreted that Kurtz’s final words were those of
his newly enlightened true personality shining through to mention ‘the horror’
of the mask of false divinity that humanity has made him create because of
their intense desires and expectations.
“The rape of the land, the consequences to the soul, the temptation of solitude,
were a dark challenge, constructing moral dilemmas. Kurtz discovered ‘He
was empty inside.’ His dying words, ‘the horror, the horror” displays what he
was inside at the end.” (“Heart of Darkness”)
Kurtz initially exists as a man of standards and moralities, who travels to the
Congo bursting with philanthropic ideals. However, these ideals become
devoured by the darkness of imperialism. The Heart of Darkness explores this
transformation through the three chapters of the novella. Kurtz’s darkness
goes through three steps as it is: foreshadowed itself in part one, describes its
path in part two, and presents itself in part three. Conrad depicts this darkness
through his aesthetic use of identity and the true self, which work to
intertwine throughout the entire story. It is through Kurtz’s corruption that we
see the persona and the mask that Kurtz wears, as it becomes corrupted and
finally his true self.

. Mr. Kurtz in Heart of Darkness

Mr. Kurtz is a star agent of the Company who works in true ivory country, deep in the
interior of Africa. Also, he goes crazy and dies.

Will the Real Mr. Kurtz Please Stand Up


Everyone who knows Kurtz (even his fiancée, who doesn't know him at all) agrees that
he has all the ambition, charisma, and eloquence to achieve greatness. As the Intended
says—although she's not the most reliable witness—he's a man of "promise,"
"greatness," a "generous mind," and a "noble heart" (3.66).

Come to think of it, everything we know about Kurtz is secondhand. So, let's start with
what we do know.

It's a Jungle Out There


Kurtz represents a normal—if ambitious—man who realizes that to thrive in the Interior,
he has to act like a god, someone who can lead these "primitive" people to the
proverbial light and civilization.
But then greed gets in the way. His insatiable hunger for ivory drives him to make
alliances and enemies among the native Africans, raiding village after village with the
help of his African friends as he searches for ivory. His obsession takes over so much
that Conrad/ Marlow even describes him in terms of the material he seeks: his head
"was like a ball—an ivory ball" (2.29), and when he utters his final words, he carries an
"expression of sombre pride" on his "ivory face" (3.42). The jungle has "got into his
veins, consumed his flesh" (2.29), making him into a totally different man.

Maybe that's why Marlow tells us repeatedly that Kurtz has "no restraint" (2.30, 3.29).
It's not as simple as "Kurtz goes to jungle; Kurtz becomes like native Africans; Heads on
sticks ensue." In fact, Kurtz becomes something else altogether—something worse.
(The horror! The horror!)

See, Africans do have a sense of decency and restraint. Think of the cannibals who eat
rotten hippo meat instead of attacking the pilgrims whom they outnumber five to one.
But not Kurtz. Kurtz has fallen a complete victim to the power of the jungle, has
transformed into its "spoiled and pampered favorite."(2.29). He's basically become a
child, and not a nice one, either: a greedy, selfish, and brutal playground bully.

Or as Marlow so beautifully says, the "powers of darkness have claimed him for their
own" (2.29).

Kurtz as a God
The native Africans worship Kurtz like a god, even attacking to
keep Kurtz with them. But here's the irony: we're not sure whether
Kurtz orders the attack or whether the native Africans do it on
their own (we get conflicting stories from the harlequin). Kurtz
may be a god, but he's also a prisoner to his devotees. He can
order mass killings of rebels, but he can't walk away freely.

Kurtz was apparently seven feet tall or so. But his name means
"short" in German—which Marlow makes sure to point out, So, his
name contradicts his god-like height, a discrepancy that reflects
the big fat lie of his life and death, and which we're thinking
means his life as a god was also false.

.
Kurtz, Madness, and Sickness
Even Kurtz’s own bodily sickness can be considered a reflection of his
diseased mind and the dying of his true persona that his madness has infected.
His slow, painful spiral into death is marked by visions and unintelligible
ravings. Parts of the narrative recount the emptiness of Kurtz’s soul; this may
be a commentary on the debilitating and devastating power of the wilderness
to suck all the humanity out of a man Kurtz’s intelligence is clear,
Kurtz's "soul [is] mad".

And then his madness becomes physical, so that his bodily


sickness is a reflection of his diseased mind. His slow, painful
spiral into death is marked by visions and unintelligible ravings.
Parts of the narrative recount the emptiness of Kurtz's soul; this
may be a commentary on the debilitating and devastating power
of the wilderness to suck all the humanity out of a man.

And now for those famous final words: "The horror! The horror!"
(3.43). Marlow interprets this for us, saying that these words are
the moment Kurtz realizes exactly how depraved human nature is
—that his inability to exert even a shred of self-control is the same
darkness in every human heart. 
l

Kurtz's fall in Heart of Darkness


Kurtz is one of the representatives of European values. He is a petty tyrant, a dying god, an embodiment of Europe. He has
been presented as a funneling character Marlow. His ambition is also traveling Africa, but though Kurtz managed to reach
his inner within like as Marlow, he fails at last because he cannot come out of it.

Joseph Conrad (1857-1924)


His downfall seems to be a result of his willingness to ignore the hypocritical rules that govern European colonial conduct.
Like Marlow, Kurtz also wished to travel to Africa in search of adventure specially to complete great acts of humanizing,
improving, and instructing. Once he tested the power that could be in the jungle, however, Kurtz abandoned his
philanthropic idea and set himself up as a god to natives at the inner station. While he used to worry about the best ways to
bring the light of civilization to the Congo, he dies as a man believing that the company should simply "Exterminate all the
brutes."

Kurtz's language is modeled with the colonial motif of Europeans behave. His ways of behaving, a concept all are formed
inside the Marlow's designation. His fall is one of the crucial points which proves inability to catch his within. He used to say
that he will take light in the darkened African land. But after all what he really did is exploitation of African people in the field
of economy, society, relation, policies, etc. He affected to almost all aspects of African society. But when he died, he spoke
the sentence "Exterminate all the brutes" as a request to his company. Marlow remarks that all Europe contributed to the
making of Kurtz. The very existence of Kurtz also proves that these very remarks as true. Kurtz is completely open about his
lust. He is the man of many lusts.

When Kurtz's dies Marlow learns about the inner Salvation. Kurtz's death has been presented as Marlow's salvation in the
novel. Kurtz’s fall is the result of the colonial conduct of European society. He is a made up man. His mentality has been
influenced or imposed with the colonial motive of European conduct, but he doesn't know all these reality. He only thinks
about his intention, positions and superiority in different levels. But it is very interesting that Kurtz having the heart of
darkness tries to exterminate so called another kind of darkness.

In this way Kurtz is a kind of blind- folded man with the colonial motive of European conduct. He himself has so many lusts.
He achieves power, joy, labor all these things, but his fall is in that situation in which he himself is not known about what
actually darkness is and who has possessed the real darkness. His fall has been shown without any kind of realization.
What he did before his fall is only served the holistic European colonial motive designed by Marlow and at last he is
presented as the scapegoat of his lusts in different fields which was designed by European colonial conduct.

In Heart of Darkness Kurtz is equated with European and his fall is linked with the fall of European civilization. The principal
cause of Kurtz’s fall is his lack of moral restraint. His fall is the fall of rational power when it stands face to face with the
fascinating savagery. His fall suggests that a civilized man is hollow at the core. According to Conrad, however civilized we
might be a primitive savage self is deeply hidden within us. If we don’t act in keeping with the virtue of moral restraint, this
primitive demon comes out from its prison and renders our lives hollow and brutal. Kurtz's fall is the fall of the civilized self in
an atmosphere of freewheeling subconscious life.

ANALYSIS OF HEART OF DEARKNESS : Abstract Heart of Darkness is Conrad’s representative work which
explores the heart as well as the outward appearance of civilization and also reveals the darkness,
complexity and fallacy of human nature by Marlow’s search of Kurtz from Europe to Africa. Through an
analysis of the tragedy of Kurtz, this paper will discuss the darkness of human nature and its destructive
influence on human beings. Keywords: Darkness, Tragedy, Heart of Darkness 1. Introduction Heart of
Darkness is one of the best novels of the 20th century. First of all, it is a symbolic journey into the dark
places of the soul. And it is also a story of spiritual breakdown. The central idea of this novel—darkness
is the true nature of our world—gets into the veins of the story. This type of darkness will break human,
as it did to Kurtz. Through Marlow’s narration, we can see how Kurtz, who came to Africa full of hopes,
deteriorated physically and spiritually at last. Though Kurtz seemed to be the most successful and
capable man that Marlow met during his journey, his life was actually a tragedy. 2. An Analysis of Kurtz
as a colonizer Driven by the two temptations: the desire to make a fortune through ivory and the desire
to discover latent kinship with the savages, Kurtz yielded to their combined power by using his authority
as deity to help him attain his goals. But he should not be viewed as simply a man that did everything
under his own wills. On the contrary, he was a representative of the European colonizers, and his
behavior represented the wills of what he belonged to. For example, his behavior of enslaving the
natives and even slaughtering them at the Inner Station was neither accused nor stopped by the Trade
Company. As Marlow told us, he was praised solely for his “talented capacity” of collecting ivory. And his
eloquent report, with 17 pages in length and with “exterminate all the brutes” as its last slogan, was
actually written under the entrustment of the International Society for the Suspension of Savage
Customs and this report was finally taken away for publication by a journalist after his death. The point
was that if the did make it true, who would be the ones that worked for their endless desire after all the
native “brutes” died out? This makes me agree with Ian Watt that the disconnection in Kurtz between
words and reality reflected a disparity between his verbal expression and his actual behavior.(Watt,
1980, p.235) And it is easy to understand why Kurtz seemed to be so weak and helpless amidst the
wilderness, though he was mentally ambitious and powerful and thought that he could acquire
everything as he wished as long as he tried hard. 2.1 Greedy Kurtz Greediness is a common character of
colonizers, which shows their great desire for fame, power and wealth in most of the cases. At the
beginning, Kurtz seemed to be quite successful in his purchase of three of them, and he was famous for
his great eloquence, his absolute power at the Inner Station—the ability to make everything and every
man under his control, and his outstanding capacity—the terrible ways in collecting ivories. And his
cruelty was proved to be the most powerful weapon for him to rule his place. For example, he made the
heads of natives who dared to offend him the remarkable ornamentations outside his windows. And he
once threatened the shoot the poor Russian if he refused to hand out his small lot of ivory, which
showed at the same time how greedy and cruel he was. Just from this small case, we pretty understand
the reasons for Kurtz to announce that everything at the Inner Station belonged to him. And so I’m not
surprise when it turned out that it was Kurtz who ordered the attack on the steamer, because “he hated
sometimes the idea of being taken away”(Conrad, 2004, p.91), even that it was held for the sake of
saving his life. This reminds me the joke of a mean and greedy man: once he fell into a pond and was
drowning, one of Asian Social Science June, 2008 149 his friends said: “Give me your hand and I’ll pull
you out.” The man didn’t give out his hand. His friend thought for a while and said: “Take my hand, I’ll
pull you out”. And the man stretched his hand and was saved at last. Unfortunately, Kurtz was not saved
at last, because he couldn’t leave the place that brought him wealth and fame, even for the sake of
saving his life. And the power that he gained from the wildness had already made him an emperor which
would neither allow his territory nor his ivory fall onto other’s hand, such as the General Manager and
his disciples. All of the above made Kurtz a Faustian evil. For him, there was no moral restraint since all
the natives there were only “brutes” at the Inner Station, and he had the right to deal with them freely
as they all belonged to him. To make sure that they would go and collect ivory for him, he used the guns
in his hands and the “great thoughts” in his mind. Of course the latter was more powerful, and its
influence didn’t vanish even after Kurtz died regretfully. 2.2 Regretful Kurtz “Kurtz—Kurtz—that means
short in German—doesn’t it”(Conrad, 2004, p.87). I do think do. Everything that was about Kurtz was
short: his fame as an eloquent orator, his career as an ivory agent, and his life as well. Yet his influence
on some particular people lasted for a long time. For example: Marlow regarded the journey towards
Kurtz as a lasting nightmare that wouldn’t fade from his memory: and Kurtz’s Intended was still in
mourn one year after his death, what’s more, she told Marlow that she would live with Kurtz’ last words,
which was just a lie by Marlow. It is natural but regretful that this man didn’t gain his happiness after
working so hard. Of course he was brutal and bloody both to the whites of lower position like the
Russian and to the natives. Yet compared with those who got rich through the ivory he collected at the
risk of his life and conscience, he was the one worthy of the reader’s sympathy. Marlow was the only
one there that showed great sympathy to Kurtz, especially when he saw that Kurtz was fighting with
himself—his evil soul that knew no restraint, no fain and no fear. And at that time, he firmly believed
that the temptation of the wilderness made Kurtz’s brutality and destroyed his soul, so he tried to break
the spell “of the wilderness that seemed to draw him to its pitiless breast by the awakening of forgotten
and brutal instincts, by the memory of gratified and monstrous passions”((Conrad, 2004, p.94). Yet
Marlow could not change Kurtz’s fate of being swallowed by the wilderness, which was dominated by
the time Kurtz made his decision of being the emissary of civilization to the dark Africa. However, we
feel very regretful for Kurtz because he was the victims of history, and the goals of colonization and
enslavement that he had devoted himself to have been proved wrong by time. 3. The Reasons for Kurtz’
tragedy Kurtz seemed to be the most successful and capable man that Marlow met during his journey
towards the Inner Station, and he was praised enthusiastically by many people whom Marlow came
across on his way. But in my opinion, Kurtz’s fate was doomed the moment Marlow saw the remains of
his predecessor—Fresleven, who was killed in a scuffle with the natives and buried by nobody but the
grass growing through his ribs. Just through a casual look at the sketch of the poor man, Marlow would
indicate to us a cruel fact that no White there would show any sympathy to the defeated, not to say
offering their hands. 3.1 Direct cause—Kurtz’s incessant rapacity The abnormal greediness of Kurtz lied
in his absurd belief that everything belonged to him, and he wouldn’t sacrifice any of the goals for the
sake of another. Therefore, we can say for sure that even if he was rescued by Marlow, he wouldn’t live
in the civilized city with he “beloved Intended”. Instead, he would again go back to the Inner Station
where there were so many things he couldn’t abandon. Under the guidance of his illogical thoughts,
Kurtz’s mind was “capable of a fearless acting out of the whole past of human barbarism”(Watt, 1980,
p.226). And it was the main reason why he enslaved the natives and even killed them when they
rebelled, and why he wouldn’t let the Russian keep even a small lot of ivory. To me, Kurtz’ success in
upholding the Inner Station and his position as well as the ivory collection actually predicted his doomed
fate of being a victim, since he was the representative of the colonizers who would take advantages of
the weaker part as the General Manager did to him when he was dying. 3.2 Origin-the civilized yet
depraved social system In my opinion, the origin of Kurtz’s tragedy is the civilized yet depraved society.
From the way Marlow got the job as captain of a steamboat for the Trade Company, we can see that
Kurtz was the same kind with Marlow, because the same people who sent him specially also
recommended Marlow. No wonder the people on board with him considered Marlow as a man of
prospect just as they though of Kurtz. But what surprised me were their totally different attitudes
towards these two men before and after they saw the dying Kurtz. In my opinion, this is only one case
that reflects the decadence of the social system of Kurtz’s time, which depended a lot, if not all, on
words: words to recommend a person, words to praise a person, words to carry on the ideas, and most
importantly, words to criticize a person. That was why Kurtz remained only a voice or a word in the
story. And even Vol. 4, No. 6 Asian Social Science 150 after his death, after his value vanished as a
remarkable agent, there was still an enthusiastic admirer who asked for his famous report and tended to
make it published. And it was actually this kind of social system that turned the Manager of the Central
Station a cunning opportunist who was always waiting for a good chance and avoiding any threat to his
position, though he was supposed to be the connector between the Company and the Stations
distributed on the outmost land. As an emissary of civilization to the dark Africa, Kurtz should have
known the system very well, especially the things that he expected from those of his type.
Unfortunately, it was until he was dying that he finally realized his pitiful fate of being substituted
sooner or later. And that was why he was so annoyed by the idea of being taken away from the Inner
Station. 4. Conclusion When the native boy finally announced his death, Kurtz lost everything that he
once firmly believed to be his: his Intended, his ivory, his station, his river and so on though he seemed
to be the most successful and capable man that Marlow met during his journey towards the Inner
Station. If we take a look at some of the well-known politicians in the past century, we would agree that
Conrad was telling us about the tragedy of the people of Kurtz’s kind. Among them, Richard Nixon,
President of the United States from 1969 to 1974, was a good representative. He was forced to resign
during the presidential election because of the Watergate Event, which made him lose his political
influence as well as his personal reputation that he dreamed desperately to gain. From their loss of
fame, power and even lives, I firmly believe that avarice is the root of evils. And as individuals, it would
be impossible for them to put the whole world under their control, no matter how hard they tried. But
the fact is that, there are still all kinds of wars in today’s world, with almost the same purpose –profits. If
we are not aware of that, Kurtz’s fate would undoubtedly happen to you and me. I think that’s the
apocalypse that Heat of Darkness left for us.