This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Character Foils: Marlow Vs Kurtz Essay

1007 words - 4 pages

Many characters have foils. A foil is a character that opposes another character, quite often the protagonist. Character foils are similar to the main character in some ways but often have one key difference. Sometimes, at some point the foils develop traits characteristic to the other. Often times, there is a factor, whether it be physical or psychological, which aids in the apparentness of the foils. In Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad, Marlow and Kurtz represent foils driven by the wilderness.
In Heart of Darkness, Marlow and Kurtz have many similarities. Perhaps the most apparent and literal similarity is the likeness of their journeys. Both men journey farther and farther into the African jungle. Kurtz, however, is driven to insanity. Marlow seems to find himself looking out over the edge of the cliff falling to insanity and turns around. Another shared characteristic is their attitude towards the natives or savages. Both men view them as insubordinate. Nonetheless, they have a sense of apathy towards them and their cause. By no means do they, however, see them as equal and proceed to do nothing to bring them to that level of equality. When both Marlow and Kurtz started their journeys, they had the idea that the savages were being civilized and Christianized and it was their mission to do just that. Likewise, they both do not, in any way, complete this “mission.” Marlow does not go into with this idea as his main purpose but his aunt definitely thinks that is his purpose for going. Rather, Marlow goes on the long and endearing journey for his love of adventure. This love of adventure did not just come about overnight. He tells his other shipmates, “Now when I was a little chap I had a passion for maps. I would look for hours…there were many blank spaces on the earth and when I saw one that looked particularly inviting on a map... I would point my finger on it and say: When I grow up I will go there” (Conrad 8). Kurtz does not display this same love for adventure; one of their opposites. Kurtz is idolized by the natives. Some people might even go as far to say that Kurtz has turned into a savage himself. This is evidenced by his participation in untold rituals and other such events. After finding out that a native attack on their ship was in order to keep Kurtz there Marlow requests to speak with Kurtz. His harlequin assistant simply replies, “You do not talk with that man- you listen to him” (Conrad 53). The natives obviously do not want Kurtz to leave. The natives do not look up to most of the white men in this manner, especially not Mr. Marlow.
There are essentially very few differences between Marlow and Kurtz. A main and apparent difference between the two men is what they love. It is evident to all that Kurtz feels a deep affection towards ivory. An affection even more so...

Find Another Essay On Character Foils: Marlow vs Kurtz

Transformation in Heart of Darkness and Apocalypse Now

1711 words - 7 pages portrayed as if Marlow does not have a 'home,' and it seems as if he had a "bond [to] the sea (Conrad p.1)." This may lead to an interpretation that he attempts to find out more about himself, and discover his inner character. The re-appearing image of the winding river resembles a journey from a wild uncivilized world, towards the light. In Heart of Darkness when Marlow finds out along the way that Kurtz, the manager of the Inner Station is gravely

Conrad's Use Of Light And Dark

1106 words - 4 pages appears to be the light, truly represents the dark. The "light" of ivory trade becomes the "dark" of the uncivilized Africa. Conrad was one of the first novelists to demonstrate a savage anger towards the white man's foolish civilization brought to the Congo of Africa (Gillon 41). Darkness seems to exhibit itself through Kurtz. Conrad's resent towards the white man is established in this character. Marlow, the heroic figure of the novel

Heart of darkness 3

881 words - 4 pages Heart of Darkness Joseph Conrad's novella, Heart of Darkness focusses on a journey of self-discovery and the effects of colonialism and imperialism. The struggle that Marlow and Kurtz experience in coming to terms with their world enables them to learn and discover a lot about themselves and others. Conrad exhibits the potential for a physical and psychological journey up the Congo to induce character discoveries into themselves, the natives

Heart of Darkness

1003 words - 4 pages Heart of Darkness Darkness permeates every circumstance, scene, and character in Joseph Conrad's novella, Heart of Darkness. Darkness symbolizes the moral confusion that Charlie Marlow encounters, as well as the moral reconciliation he has within himself while searching for Kurtz. Marlow's morals are challenged numerous times throughout the book; on the Congo river and when he returns to Brussels. Charlie Marlow characterizes

The Conflict between Truth and Ideals in "Heart of Darkness"

1200 words - 5 pages conflict Marlow faces gives the story its depth and crisis. Marlow appears to take pride in civilization and noble conquest. However, the narrator foreshadows Marlow's inner conflict by saying that, for Marlow, "...the meaning of an episode was not inside like a kernel, but outside, enveloping the tale which brought it out only as a glow brings out in a haze." (Pickering 285). Most of Marlow's journey centers on the character of Kurtz, however, it is

Irony in Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness

1044 words - 4 pages in Heart of Darkness plays a significant role in the overall theme of the novel, as mentioned above. The central character is a thirty two year old sailor, Charlie Marlow. He is a dynamic character who essentially controls the development of the theme. Through Marlow's experiences and revelations, the author illustrates how forces of light and darkness serve to weave the human soul together; thus, essentially how both good and evil are reflected

Attitude toward European Imperialism

1797 words - 8 pages Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad, “opens at sunset with Marlow in the company of four friends aboard the yawl Nellie at anchor in the Thames estuary waiting the turn of the tide” (Knowles and Moore 173). Marlow tells the story of his personal experience in the Congo. He, as a sailor of a steamboat, departed from Europe to Africa, where was “one of the dark places of the earth” (Conrad 3). His first assignment was to rescue Kurtz, who was a

Heart of Darkness/Apocalypse Now One Pager

769 words - 4 pages While there are differences between Francis Ford Coppola’s film, Apocalypse Now!, and Joseph Conrad novel, The Heart of Darkness, Kurtz and his influence on the main character remain very similar. Both the movie and novel depict a protagonist’s struggle to travel upstream in a ship in search of a man named Kurtz. While doing so, Marlow (The Heart of Darkness)/Willard (Apocalypse Now!) become progressively fascinated with Kurtz. Kurtz is claimed

The Character of Marlow in Conrad's Heart of Darkness

921 words - 4 pages darkness. Marlow needs to make it in order to meet this legend he has created in his mind. To Marlow Kurtz is an amazing idea. Kurtz could succeed despite the terrible circumstances. Marlow admires Kurtz and uses him as to escape from people like the manager who only want to sabotage others. Marlow's character does not go through any changes where as Kurtz mind changes a number of times. The reader is given a look at a typical European minded man

blackhod Black vs. White in Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness

1681 words - 7 pages standards and ethics amongst men. Civilization, as seen in the Europeans in the Congo, acts to prevent humankind from returning to the darker inclinations inherent in its generic character. One aspect of the novella that deeply supports this idea is represented in Kurtz, for whom Marlow had been searching. Kurtz entered the Congo as the most civilized of men. He was educated and respected, and he took part in all sophisticated lifestyles (i.e., fine

Marlow's lies

827 words - 4 pages Marlow’s Dark Lie In the novel, Heart of Darkness, written by Joseph Conrad, Marlow lies to Kurtz’s fiancée at the end of the story when she asks him to repeat his last words to which he responds that his last word was her name. Kurtz’s fiancée, also referred to as the Intended, was comforted by his response and wept in triumph; however, she believed in an illusion because she never knew what Kurtz became in Africa. The author uses character

Similar Essays

The Elusive Kurtz: A Psychological Character Study Of Joseph Conrad's Antagonist Kurtz, As Well As An Analysis Of Imperialism And Good Vs. Evil

1236 words - 5 pages Dennis 1Robyn Dennis02/5/03Mr. JonesPeriod 1The Elusive KurtzThroughout the greater part of Joseph Conrad's novelette, Heart of Darkness, the protagonist and narrator, Marlow, is unwittingly and markedly affected by an elusive and highly venerated character known only as Kurtz. His journey via steamship into the heart of the African Congo creates within him an entirely altered view of the twisted and despairing colonization and modernization

Marlow Vs. Willard Essay

1095 words - 4 pages Marlow vs. Willard Charles Marlow and Captain Willard have many characteristics that would make them alike and different. Marlow, from the novel Heart of Darkness, was a man who was on a mission through Cambodia to find Kurtz. Captain Willard, from the movie “Apocalypse Now”, was a man on a mission to exterminate a fellow member of the United States Armed Forces, Kurtz. “Apocalypse Now” is a Vietnam parallel of the novel Heart of Darkness

Marlow Vs. Willard Essay

1105 words - 4 pages November 7, 2000 English 1a Essay #5 Marlow vs. Willard Charles Marlow and Captain Willard have many characteristics that would make them alike and different. Marlow, from the novel Heart of Darkness, was a man who was on a mission through Cambodia to find Kurtz. Captain Willard, from the movie "Apocalypse Now", was a man on a mission to exterminate a fellow member of the United States Armed Forces, Kurtz. "Apocalypse Now" is a Vietnam parallel

The Monster Of Imperialism Essay

954 words - 4 pages , published in 1899, Marlow meets both a sycophantic manager seeking to advance up the corporate ladder and a vicious Kurtz willing to murder indiscriminately. Yet despite Kurtz’s paramount evilness, Marlow gives his loyalties to Kurtz instead of to the company manager since Kurtz always remains conscious about the atrocities he commits. While the manager may not seem very powerful or evil, Marlow feels disgust over his fawning and almost useless