Heart Of Darkness And Kurtz

Marlow’s Journey into Kurtz? In Joseph Conrad’s novel, Heart of Darkness, we
are shown man insights into the darkness, that is the Congo. His characters

Marlow and Kurtz undergo similar journeys through the evil and dark regions of
their minds. However, Marlow is able to realize the darkness inside of him and
retain his sanity before he reverts to a savage animal, like Kurtz. Marlow’s
disillusionment begins as early as when he comes onto the shores of Africa, what
you expect is almost never what you get. Marlow travels into the Congo and not
only meets Kurtz, but also becomes a reflection of him as he undergoes numerous
changes in mind and body. As Marlow starts his journey on the Nellie, he
realizes the change of atmosphere and the change inside the people. He sees the
savages, the enemies or at least the people he had one time believed were the
enemies right there standing before him and all around him. He later realizes
that these people he had one time viewed as savage and unjust are merely"black shadows of disease and starvation"(24). Marlow sees the natives
clinging to the shade as it seems safe and peaceful, but as he enters the shade
he realizes it is "a gloomy circle of some inferno"(26). Marlow experiences
how easy it is to be totally consumed by the true heart of this inferno, this
darkness. The Inner Station is where Marlow finds Kurtz as well as himself. As

Marlow meets Kurtz, he identifies with him and finds many of the same qualities
in himself. He idolizes Kurtz, he sees a free and rebellious quality that he
wishes he could possess. Marlow sees that Kurtz has embraced his savage side
when he travels with the savages into the forest. Marlow tries to distance
himself from Kurtz in his mind. He tries to make himself believe that he is not
like Kurtz and he will not and can not do the things Kurtz does. When he follows

Kurtz he stays at the edge of the woods, not venturing any further. This
represents Marlow’s unwillingness to participate in Kurtz’s actions,
realizing that the Congo reveals the evil and savagery in an individual. Marlow
says:"I seemed to see Kurtz for the first time.....the lone white man turning
his back suddenly on the headquarters, or relief, on the thoughts of home, and
towards his empty and desolate station"(97)showing that Kurtz has turned away
from everything that holds one together, humanity as well as society. Marlow
does not like to lie, he has strong beliefs about lying yet he find ways to
justify himself to tell them. He lies to The Intended so that the image of her
dead fiance would not be destroyed. She has waited at least two years for her
lover to return from Africa, and now he is dead. During this time she has built
his image up in her mind she says, "it was impossible to know him and not to
admire him"(119) which is blinding her from seeing the truth or believing it.

To her Kurtz is a man to be admired. She feels it would be "impossible not
to love him" (120). She was proud to have been engaged to Kurtz, and would
be shocked to learn of the things he had done. Marlow had to decide if he should
tell her the truth about Kurtz and cause her even greater grief, or let her go
on believing that he was a good man. This is an extraordinary circumstance, and
thus one in which Marlow felt he could justify himself to lie. The significance
of this lie is that it would serve no purpose to tell the truth, so Marlow does
not. Kurtz is dead and to tell the truth would only hurt an innocent woman. She
had no idea that her fiance had an evil heart. She thought that he has loved and
admired by everyone who knew him. If she learned of the things he had done, it
would destroy her. Marlow showed his good side by not telling her the truth
about Kurtz. This shows that even though Marlow has met a man with a Heart of

Darkness, and that even after facing his own darkness, he has come out of the
jungle unchanged, for the most part. He is still a good human being with
feelings and a sense of right and wrong. Marlow never actually vocalized a lie.

He simply allowed others to continue to