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The Changing Personality Of Kurtz In Joseph Conrad's Heart Of Darkness

966 words - 4 pages

Heart of Darkness  - The Changing  Personality of Kurtz

 
   Kurtz's character is fully facet (in Conrad's Heart of Darkness), not because of his conventional roll of antagonist, but for his roll in a historical fiction as a character with important roll in society, influenced by those close to him. Kurtz makes some key developments in the way he interacts with others, in large part due to the words and actions of society and Kurtz's acquaintances.

 

Heart of Darkness is a novel based on European imperialism in the late nineteenth-early twentieth century. During the turn of the century in 1900, the more significant countries in Europe (i.e. England, France, Germany, et al.) had gotten to a point where expansion within Europe was no longer foreseeable, so for financial, political, and egotistical reasons, these countries looked south to their neighbor Africa, the "black continent." "God-forsaken wilderness." Marlow says of Africa. (Page 73) Trade routes were established and the home countries found reliable executive willing to travel and develop relations in the country. In Conrad's novel, Kurtz was this man. He started out with a noble goal, i.e. to modernize Africa, but suffered the effects of a deadly disease, greed. "It was reckless without hardihood, greedy without audacity, and cruel without courage." Said Marlow (of what Kurtz and the ivory company had done to Africa.) (Page 102.)

 

Kurtz's characteristics are best seen through his work as an Ivory trader in the territory known as Congo. He got this position after being dubbed as a genius, partly because he worked as an orator, poet, writer, musician, politician, and artist in addition to the ivory business. Many would take this success and use it to benefit humanity as previous geniuses (Einstein, Newton, DaVinci, et. Al.) have done. This was not the case with Kurtz. Kurtz took advantage of his position, but did so at the cost of the people of the Congo. He acted in locum Diem, (in place of god) to the Africans, exploiting necessary resources at his expense. He often abused these natives not for pleasure, but for the advancement of his journey motif, much to the same degree Victor bent the rules of society to achieve a goal in Frankenstein. He did not see it as necessarily wrong, but unavoidable, that he eventually came to live by. "Each station should be like a beacon on the road towards better things, a center for trade of course but also for humanizing, improving, instructing." (Page 107) Kurtz says to the Ivory Company as means of motivation and explaining that their cause is just. This is similar to America's...

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