The True Heart of Darkness
In Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad one illuminating moment that helps decode the meaning of this book was the moment of Kurtz’s death. When Marlow first met Kurtz, Marlow said that Kurtz claimed everything as his own. It was his ivory, his river, his Intended. Even on his deathbed everything still belonged to him his face looked like it would open up and swallow up the whole world when Marlow first saw him. In the jungle though, everything, in his mind was his because he had absolute power, he was the “God” of the jungle and its people. His power just gave birth to all of his greed. It gave him the right to threaten to kill the Russian harlequin man when he had some ivory; the right to kill Africans when they didn’t deliver to him exactly what he rightfully deserved or owned. This book’s theme focuses on what the element of complete freedom and power, without the influence of a structured society, can turn a person into. When in complete darkness with no social moors, even a remarkable man like Kurtz, is transformed into a rapacious monster.
Kurtz is revered partly because of his voice and his way with words. Even in death Kurtz’s voice resonates and is still as strong as it has been despite his skeletal form. This book over and over calls the Africans savages and basically it is because the whites can’t communicate with them. Language in this book is an important part of this book. If one can’t communicate with another human being, in this book, one is a savage. This book’s theme rests on the art of speaking. Kurtz is remarkable for his speech and despite his despicable actions is still revered for putting words to his life.
When Kurtz says, “The horror! The horror!” that scene basically sums up the whole theme that without structured society, a person with complete power and freedom will become corrupt. Kurtz is portrayed from the beginning of the book as a remarkable man. In this scene he realizes that his life is in fact...
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