And then, in case we still don't get it, he straight out tells us Marlow was like Buddha 1. Marlow is in many ways a traditional hero: tough, honest, an independent thinker, a capable man. Is there such thing as insanity in a world that has already gone insane? Kurtz's ideals turn out to be lies when he drops them to become a devil-god in the jungle. As the narrator states at the beginning of the text, Marlow is more interested in surfaces, in the surrounding aura of a thing rather than in any hidden nugget of meaning deep within the thing itself. Then flies, the symbol of slow, mundane decay and disintegration as opposed to catastrophic or dramatic destruction , swarm throughout the ship, as if to mark the actual moment. Feminist theory examines the perceptible qualities associated with women. Kurtz is rumored to be ill, making the delays in repairing the ship all the more costly.
Marlow glances into Kurtz's cabin only to find that Kurtz is gone. He confuses the beat of the drum the call to mans primitive side with his own heartbeat, and is pleased. At the same time, Marlow's fantasizing about Kurtz has its hazards. One way to interpret this is that Marlow is disowning his own responsibility and that of his fellow employees for the atrocities committed by the Company on the natives. Conrad's decision to set the book in a Belgian colony and to have Marlow work for a Belgian trading concern made it even easier for British readers to avoid seeing themselves reflected in Heart of Darkness. Seeing an opportunity to use the brickmaker's influence to his own ends, Marlow lets the man believe he really does have influence in Europe and tells him that he wants a quantity of rivets from the coast to repair his ship.
Critics have often read her as a racist and misogynist stereotype, and in many ways this is true. Nonetheless, something about this journey renders Marlow a mystery even to himself; he starts to think of himself as a potential case study. But when Marlow discovers him, Kurtz has become so ruthless and rapacious that even the other managers are shocked. By using an actual speaking sailor to tell the story, Conrad goes just about as far away as you can get from the typical 19th- century novel's omniscient narrator- the all-knowing voice of an impersonal author who told you not only what happened to the characters but also what went on in their minds. The brickmaker tells Marlow that Kurtz is a prodigy, sent as a special emissary of Western ideals by the Company's directors and bound for quick advancement.
Africa appears to him to be something that happens to a man, without his consent. Anyway, Marlow obviously sees women as naïve and idealistic. He wears a gaudy patchwork suit and babbles incessantly. Conrad uses light to represent the civilized side of humanity while contrasting the dark with the uncivilized and savage. The theme alienation from a small society is depicted through setting by both authors Conrad and Kafka in Metamorphosis and Heart of Darkness.
Two Themes That Affect Marlow and Kurtz In Heart Of Darkness Mrs. Kurtz bemoans the failure of his grand schemes, and Marlow reassures him that he is thought a success in Europe. It is this sense of dark mastery that disturbs Marlow most. The spectacle of death and enslavement there is overwhelming, so Marlow's responses as he would probably argue aren't extraordinarily moral, just normal, the only normal ones we see amid the demented greed of the traders. They all want to be appointed to a station so that they can trade for ivory and earn a commission, but none of them actually takes any effective steps toward achieving this goal.
While the threats that Conrad's characters face are concrete ones—illness, violence, conspiracy—they nevertheless acquire a philosophical character. Like many Europeans — including his creator — Marlow longed for adventure and devoured accounts such as those offered by Stanley. He sees piles of decaying machinery and a cliff being blasted for no apparent purpose. One of the natives is accused of causing the fire and is beaten severely; he disappears into the forest after he recovers. He's describing the fog and the fright of the white pilgrims on board, which leads him to recall the reactions of the black Africans on board, and suddenly he's off on a tangent about cannibalism that brings the development of the action to a complete halt.
The young Russian visits Marlow and discloses that the earlier attack on the steamer was ordered by Kurtz; then he steals away into the jungle. The framing narrative puts a certain amount of distance between Marlow's narrative and Conrad himself. So, by the end of the story, does Marlow respect Kurtz? Until this point, Marlow's narrative has featured prominently mysterious signs and symbols, which Marlow has struggled to interpret. And then, just a few paragraphs later, Marlow is actually excited to see the guy, saying that, for him, the journey has become entirely about meeting Kurtz. The colonials in the coastal station spend all their time blasting a cliff for no apparent reason, machinery lies broken all around, and supplies are poorly apportioned, resting in abundance where they are not needed and never sent to where they are needed. He doesn't like how the natives are being branded as enemies when its actually their country He feels like he belongs with the natives more than the englishmen but he's still with them. Thus, Marlow's growing perception of the moral decay around him becomes one of the major issues of the novel.
As darkness begins to fall, the men recall the great ships and explorers that have set forth from the Thames on voyages of trade and adventure, often never to return. Madness also functions to establish the necessity of social fictions. Conrad describes the natives as those that do not have darkness in them, and that they are very altruistic and compassionate. Once he has recovered sufficiently, he leaves Africa and returns to Brussels. Marlow's interest in Kurtz will grow eventually into an obsession and become the focus of the story. Was the darkness something that was simply a part of the universe, something that could never be defeated? When he eventually reaches Kurtz, Marlow's perception Heart of Darkness Darkness permeates every circumstance, scene, and character in Joseph Conrad's novella, Heart of Darkness. Not long after, Marlow and his companions arrive at Kurtz's Inner Station, expecting to find him dead, but a half- Russian trader, who meets them as they come ashore, assures them that everything is fine and informs them that he is the one who left the wood.