The Villian Archetype in Heart of Darkness

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  • Topic: Heart of Darkness, Bourgeoisie, Villain
  • Pages : 3 (1056 words )
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  • Published : November 29, 2011
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"You should have heard him say, 'My ivory.' Oh, yes, I heard him. 'My Intended, my ivory, my station, my river, my - ' everything belonged to him... - but that was a trifle. The thing was to know what he belonged to, how many powers of darkness claimed him for their own. That was the reflection that made you creepy all over. It was impossible it was not good for one either - trying to imagine. He had taken a high seat amongst the devils of the land - I mean literally." (60)

From Marlow, comes this glimpse of Kurtz, a glimpse of his negativity, his immoral side rather than the glorification we are used to seeing attributed to him by the other characters in the novella. Kurtz emulates the villain archetype to a tee; he begins to take a megalomaniacal path, in which he becomes so power-hungry in nature, that Marlow describes him as the quintessence of evil within the novella. While Kurtz is not the only evil image, or character within the novel that represents malevolence, he is reflected as the primary by Marlow. Marlow personifies Kurtz as one who is only interested in the tangible- something that he can keep and see, and have for himself. Whatever morals Kurtz had upon arriving to the Congo-if any at all, are destroyed by the taste of power, and that power being specifically imperialism- the idea that one is never satisfied with what they already have and . Kurtz’s ideas are Machiavellian in nature, seeing as he desires to control and exert brute force, implying fear in order to maintain obedience, and in Conrad’s eyes, this is the biggest sin. Kurtz has the ability to control and possess whatever he so desires because of his ability to charm, however he uses his power for evil rather than good, and this is what Marlow frowns upon. Since Kurtz is such a modal being, as attributed by others in a different light every time, as Nazanin mentioned, sometimes as an artist, other as an orator, he has the congeniality required to successfully become shrouded in...
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