Joseph Conrad's-Heart Of Darkness


The Evil of Man
 In the novel Heart of Darkness, written by Joseph Conrad, Marlow 
finds himself in a position where he is faced to accept the fact that 
the man he has admired and looked up to is a madman. He realizes that 
Kurtz¹s methods are not only unethical, but also inhumane. Marlow 
comes to realize that Kurtz is evil, and that he himself is also evil, 
thus Marlow¹s disillusion makes his identification with Kurtz 
 As Marlow travels up the river, he is constantly preoccupied with 
Kurtz. Marlow says ²I seemed to see Kurtz for the first time...the 
lone white man turning his back suddenly on the headquarters, on 
relief, on thoughts of home...towards his empty and desolate 
station²(32). From the beginning of his trip, he is compared to Kurtz 
by all of the people that he comes into contact with, and a great deal 
of his thoughts are of Kurtz. He wonders how he will measure up to the 
standards that the company set for him, what Kurtz¹s personality is 
like, and what Kurtz would think of him. The more obsessed he becomes 
with Kurtz, the more he sets himself up for the horrible reality of 
what his new idol was truly made of. 
 Upon reaching Kurtz¹s station, Marlow¹s disillusion begins to set in. 
He is greeted by an English-speaking Russian whom he takes for a man 
who on the surface is deceant level-headed person, but after short 
conversation it is apparent to Marlow that he is talking with a 
disturbed individual, but that was not what bothered Marlow. Hearing 
of and seeing the acts committed by Kurtz made Marlow uneasy, and even 
afraid. It was at this point that Marlow begins his denial of any 
affinity he feels with Kurtz. He says in regard to the Russian ³I 
suppose that it had not occurred to him that Mr. Kurtz was no idol of 
mine²(59). Marlow sees all of the atrocities committed by Kurtz, and 
is appalled, but when he looks deep with inside himself he sees what 
he could easily become, and he desperately wants to suppress it.
 Once Kurtz is on the boat, and headed with Marlow back to 
civilization, things take a strange turn. Though Marlow and Kurtz have 
little to talk about, they develop a distinct respect for each other. 
As Kurtz dies, Marlow accepts this death easily and remains loyal to 
his dying requests. It troubles Marlow a great deal that there is so 
much of himself in the things Kurtz did. There is a point where Marlow 
finds the evil that lurks in heart of all men, and he simply accepts 
it. This is mostly clearly demonstrated at the end of the story when 
he claims to be thinking ³Don¹t you understand I loved him-I loved 
him-I loved him²(79). In this quote Marlow lets it all out. On the 
surface he hated Kurtz¹s actions, but he loved his power to fight the 
standards of society and to live as a true man.
 Marlow finds out that there is a savage beast in himself, and in all 
men in his mind. There are a lot of problems that Marlow faces and he 
maintains his composure. It Kurtz¹s lack of composure that Marlow 
privately admires. In this story Marlow is forced to accept his 
disillusion with Krutz, and is terrified of the identification that 
comes along with this acceptance. It is only then when Marlow realizes 
the true nature of man.

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