We are always taught to appreciate the little things in life; the things that don’t seem to have much of significance at first but end up meaning the world to us. These small things have a value so great but so hidden that they are usually taken a granted for. In The Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad, there are a few characters that aren’t present in the book for a large amount of time but have a great affect on the story. Kurtz is one of these characters. Kurtz is introduced towards the end of the story but he has an affect on the action, the theme and the other characters development even when he isn’t present.
Kurtz is a power hungry man who achieved his power by getting into the ivory business and using shady techniques. He also befriended the natives in the jungle who basically become his slaves. Kurtz is so well ...view middle of the document...
Kurtz is unaware of his own darkness which leads to his downfall. He cannot see what kind of person he has become and how the darkness of the jungle has completely taken over him. The jungle is so secluded and mysterious that it actually influences Kurtz’s bad behavior. Kurtz becomes greedy and powerful but never realizes that this behavior is bringing him down until he is on the verge of death. Kurtz last words, “The horror! The horror!”(63) show Kurtz’s realization that the darkness had consumed him. Kurtz himself is one of the biggest examples of darkness in this book.
The final thing Kurtz had an affect on was the other characters development; specifically Marlow’s. Marlow spent his journey on the Congo listening to so many stories about Kurtz that he becomes obsessed with meeting him. At one point in the story, Marlow finds out there is a possibility that Kurtz is dead and he admits that, “For the moment that was the dominant thought. There was a sense of extreme disappointment, as though I had found out I had been striving after something altogether without a substance” (41). When Marlow finally meets Kurtz he is a little disappointed. He finds out that Kurtz actually isn’t as amazing as he expected. Marlow is thrown a back but doesn’t give up complete hope. When Kurtz dies, and says his final words, Marlow realizes that Kurtz is actually an honorable man. Kurtz makes a huge personal discovery which Marlow greatly appreciates.
Kurtz’s lasting impact is what makes him so significant. He personally isn’t in the story much but the idea of him is constantly present. Kurtz’s character is so built up that he is bound to be important and once he is finally introduced the reader may be a little disappointed. Kurtz is a lying, power hungry man who isn’t noble at all. But eventually, one will start to see what a great impact Kurtz had on Marlow and on the story itself. Kurtz affected the action in The Heart of Darkness along with the theme and character development.