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Raseel B

on 24 April 2017

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Transcript of Kurtz

Character Analysis

Heart of Darkness

Raseel Bidawi
Zein Osseily

Who is Kurtz?
Kurtz is an ivory trader, sent by a shadowy Belgian company into the heart of an unnamed place in Africa. With the help of his superior technology, Kurtz has turned himself into a charismatic demigod of all the tribes surrounding his station, and gathered vast quantities of ivory in this way.
A man who exemplifies Western civilization: his mother half- English, his father half-French. He is a man of talent who reads and writes poetry.
Kurtz initially exists as a man of standards and moralities, who travels to the Congo bursting with philanthropic ideals. However, these ideals become devoured by the darkness of imperialism.
The reason for the mystery behind Kurtz lies in the multiple masks and personas that he commonly wears throughout the story and wondering as to which of his personas is his true personality.
Kurtz is a man of talents being known for his skills as a painter, musician, writer, and a promising politician – the chief of which are his charisma and his ability to lead men and control the natives. He did whatever he wanted, because there were no laws to restrain him. He was struggling with the darkness in himself; but at the end before he dies, he was able to recognize and confess to it. The company described him as the best agent, and an extraordinary man. He went to the jungle to get money for the company and himself, but he was changed when he became dominated by the evil within his soul.
He is a hollow man who becomes frenzied by his greed for ivory. This is the reason why he gives up willingly to his primitive instincts, gets involved in the dreadful rites of the natives, and let his dark essence become the core of his actions. This could be taken negatively, to mean that Kurtz is not worthy of contemplation.
The company described him as the best agent, a professional man in his career, of great importance to the company. People assumed Kurtz to be a noble man.
Kurtz was a bright man who could not adapt himself to the environment. His hut was surrounded by the skulls of men who had betrayed him, which served as a reminder to anyone in the jungle who contemplated going against his will.
Once Kurtz considered the world is in a fixed way: birth, life, and finally death. In his quotes: “I am lying here in the dark waiting for death”.
However, could it be said that the way in which Kurtz manipulates people to his will and his image as that of divinity is actually a façade? It is this power and persona that takes over as Kurtz considers himself to be that of god-like image and perfection. Basically, Kurtz’s philosophy on this and the use of his persona can be considered "If you can’t beat them, join the attitude."
"They--the women, I mean--are out of it--should be out of it. We must help them to stay in that beautiful world of their own, lest ours gets worse."
(Pg. 68)
This quote shows that while some men seem to have a bit of reverence for women, they still see them as self-deluded tools who are desperately trying to flee from reality.
Quote 2:
"She was savage and superb, wild-eyed and magnificent; there was something ominous and stately in her deliberate progress. And in the hush that had fallen suddenly upon the whole sorrowful land...pensive, as though it had been looking at the image of its own tenebrous and passionate soul.
(Pg. 87)



In Joseph Conrad’s 1902 English novella, Heart of Darkness, a character by the name of Mr. Kurtz demonstrates an internal battle between that of the good and evil within himself, using the ideals of morals and isolation.
The famous final words of Kurtz before being silence on his deathbed being “The horror! The horror!” (Conrad 351)
Marlow interprets this for his listeners, saying that these words are the moment Kurtz realizes exactly how depraved human nature is—that his inability to exert even a shred of self-control is the same darkness in every human heart.
It can even be interpreted that Kurtz’s final words were those of his newly enlightened true personality shining through to mention ‘the horror’ of the mask of false divinity that humanity has made him create because of their intense desires and expectations.
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