Heart

.. mple title, but a unique individual. Quote: ‘He is a prodigy.’ “Loner” [Kurtz writes 28] Marlow is laying on the deck of the steamer at the central station when he over hears bits and pieces of a conversation between the uncle and the manager. From what Marlow can decipher they are speaking of Kurtz. The uncle feels that if Kurtz is without companionship maybe the climate will kill him.

The manager says he is alone, because he sent back his and assistant and a note. The note stated he would rather be without anyone then the incompetent people the central station seemed to be able to spare. Quote: ‘I had rather be alone than have the kind of men you can dispose of with me.’ “Architect” [Manager to uncle 29] Marlow is eavesdropping on the uncle and manager’s conniving and deceitful neglect of Kurtz. Kurtz’s ideals and goals for the Congo bothered the manager. The manager quotes Kurtz.

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Kurtz wanted to bring civilization to the uncivilized through the use of the stations. He didn’t have but a second thought of the economic profit when he first arrived in the Congo. This parallels with Marlow’s moral intention for the natives to have a better life with technology. The stations should be enlightenment for the natives to make them real people and better their living conditions. The stations were more like oppressors of the natives than caregivers.

Kurtz wanted a legacy of good intentions personified through the stations. Quote: ‘Each station should be like a beacon on the road towards better things, a center for trade of course, but also for humanizing, improving, instructing.’ “Avant-garde” [Marlow to passengers 43] After the steamer is attacked and the helmsman is dead, an epiphany comes to Marlow. He may never speak to Kurtz for surely he must be dead. Through all the descriptions of Kurtz an image is not what comes to Marlow, it is Kurtz voice. Marlow’s first impression of Kurtz is his voice. Kurtz voice is haunting and dominant in Marlow’s mind.

The presentation of a voice by Kurtz gives him the first control over Marlow’s inner self. Quote: ‘The man presented himself as a voice.’ “Fanatic” [Marlow to passengers 44] Marlow thinks Kurtz is dead. He tells the passengers he would later find out he was wrong. Marlow though he has not yet met the man, Kurtz, has his thoughts over powered by Kurtz’s voice declaring his greed and possession of everything. Kurtz’s is so intent on having ivory that he steals, barters, and connives to get the precious yellow white gold.

Kurtz’s voice in Marlow’s head gives him the impression of the two-year-old mine syndrome. You have it, it’s mine. I see it, it’s mine. It’s mine, mine, and mine. Quote: ‘My Intended, my ivory, my station, my river, my-‘ “Visionary” [Russian to Marlow 50] Marlow has reached the inner station where he finds the Russian, who is extremely devoted to Kurtz.

It is no accident that Marlow meets this man here because Kurtz had planned it in order to have an audience for his final curtain. The Russian is talking about when he and Kurtz are camping in the forest and Kurtz talks about everything to him. Kurtz acquaints the Russian with his wisdom of life. Kurtz invokes visions of greatness in everyone including himself. Quote: ‘He made me see things-things.’ “Survivor” [Marlow to passengers 51] Marlow assumes that the Russian had been with Kurtz since their first encounter in the encampment if the forest.

This was not so Kurtz it seems that their relationship had been interrupted by events and Kurtz’s maddening mind. Kurtz had been in the heart of this jungle for many months without necessary supplies and provisions. We learned this in the beginning. Kurtz had suffered though two illnesses and was helped by the Russian during these times. Through all the dangers that occurred to get to this land of ivory wealth Kurtz had managed to continue going nothing seemed to stop him. Quote: ‘He had, as he informed me proudly, managed to nurse Kurtz through two illnesses.’ “Conniver” [Marlow to passengers 51] Marlow is speaking of the Russian and the profound influence that Kurtz has had on this man. This was curious to Marlow because this man had the pleasure of talking to Kurtz and Marlow had not, yet Marlow was profoundly effected internally by the voice image of Kurtz.

Quote: ‘The man filled his life, occupied his thoughts, swayed his emotions.’ “Oppressor” [Russian to Marlow 51] The Russian is telling Marlow of the time Kurtz had wanted to shoot him for his ivory. Kurtz had an obsession with ivory and he wanted the Russian to fear him so he threatened him with bodily harm. Early in the novel we hear the brickmaker make the comment he feared nothing not any man either. He was referring to Kurtz also. The natives feared Kurtz because they say him as a god coming in with his thunder and lighting. Quote: ‘He declared he would shoot me unless I gave him the ivory and then cleared out of the country,’ “Conformist” [Russian to Marlow 52] The Russian said that Kurtz had suffered too much and he would beg him to leave. Kurtz would agree to go but then would take off on another ivory raid. Kurtz had conformed to the greed of the area and his own fanatic quest for all the ivory and possessions to be had from this country. Kurtz had forgot his initial reason for coming to the Congo to improve the natives.

Kurtz had conformed to the native way of life by allowing them to worship him as a god. He had given in to the darkness of hedonism. Quote: ‘And he would say yes, and then would remain; go off on another ivory hunt; disappear for weeks; forget himself amongst these people-‘ “Director” [Russian to Marlow 54] There are men carrying Kurtz out on a stretcher toward the steamer and the natives become incited to make a commotion. Something bad is going to happen if Kurtz doesn’t take control of the situation. The natives feel Kurtz doesn’t want to leave with Marlow and his crew because Kurtz had ordered the attack on the steamer.

Kurtz’s words will bring order back to the procession. Quote: ‘now, if he does not say the right thing to them we are all done for.’ “Rebel” [Marlow to passengers 61] Marlow has woken up to find Kurtz has left the boat. Marlow knows he can catch him because Kurtz is on all fours. The drumbeats and chants of enchantment have drawn Kurtz to the surrounding encampments; they are taking control of his darkened soul. It is rebellious of a sick man to leave the safety of hope and crawl to evil. Kurtz’s soul is a rebel also because it has become by far and away out of the norms of morality. Quote: ‘this alone had beguiled his unlawful soul beyond the bounds of permitted aspirations.’ “Martyr” [Marlow to passengers 64] Marlow is telling of Kurtz’s final words.

Upon Kurtz’s face Marlow sees every facet of his character. The pride of the cause, the civilizing of the natives, Kurtz came to the Congo to accomplish. The immense control he reeled over the natives. The oppression of mankind as related with the ‘heads on stakes’, and the total loss of his soul to the uncivilized world of greed and domination. Kurtz made the ultimate sacrifice for the cause his inner most light and now he shall forever live in the heart of darkness.

Quote: ‘The horror! The horror!’ Theme The Heart of Darkness is more than a recantation of a journey to the inner jungle of the Congo; it is an intrinsic journey of the self and evil that lies dormant within all human souls. Unfortunately the evil can be expelled and used until it envelops the whole of our being. The evil of greed for the possession of ivory and power engulf Kurtz. He shows this with the quote ‘My Intended, my ivory, my station, my river, my-‘. When Marlow’s helmsman dies he compares the helmsman with Kurtz in the way he was unable to fight off the engulfing darkness of greed. The helmsman dies in an attack on the steamer just miles away from Kurtz’s camp. The helmsman showed no restraint only terror by opening the shutter of the pilothouse to aimlessly shooting at the darkness of the bush.

This remarkable horror tale to the inner darkness of man is engrossed and exploited by the physical journey to the Congo. The narrator says that most seamen have simply stories, but not Marlow. Marlow’s tales are like the way a Russian nesting doll works, open the doll and there is another doll inside. The meaning and the characters are in the surrounding layers of the intended destination, Kurtz and the Congo. The quote ‘to him the meaning of an episode was not inside like a kernel but outside, enveloping the tale..’ shows the point of the surrounding layers of the journey. The symbol of Marlow as Buddha gives insight to an inner journey through meditation. The journey has the’notion of being captured by the incredible’ the utmost epiphany of the ‘essence of dreams’.

The deeper we travel into the novel and the Congo with Marlow the closer we come to our inner evil. When Marlow looks upon Kurtz’s dying face he sees every facet of the inner journey. The pride of the cause, the civilizing of the natives, Kurtz came to the Congo to accomplish. The immense control Kurtz reeled over the natives. The oppression of mankind as related with the ‘heads on stakes’, and the total loss of Kurtz’s soul to the uncivilized world of greed and domination.

Kurtz made the ultimate sacrifice for the cause his inner most light and now he shall forever live in the heart of darkness. Kurtz horror is the ultimate evil the vision of the devil within his very life force. In the end of the novel the dark shadow of Kurtz and the Congo follow Marlow to Kurtz’s Intended, where Marlow goes against his morals and lies to her about Kurtz’s last words. Kurtz uttered ‘the horror the horror’, but Marlow tells the Intended it was her name that escaped in his final breath. The quote that incites this theme is ‘The vision seemed to enter the house with me..like the beating of a heart-the heart of conquering darkness.’ [68].