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Word Count: 2,333
Joseph Conrads Heart of Darkness is at its core the story of two men Marlow and Kurtz and their experiences with the evil that resides within mankinds soul In many ways Marlow and Kurtz are the light and dark selves of the same person Marlow is what Kurtz might have been Kurtz is what Marlow could have become Both Marlow and Kurtz begin their stay in the Congo as idealists of some kind Marlow in the adventure that he expects to find and Kurtz in his plans to civilize the natives Both find themselves irrevocably changed by their journey into the jungle and the darkness that they find there Kurtz embraces this evil and willingly sacrifices a part of himself in exchange for the power that it offers him he becomes an agent of that evil and in the end is wholly consumed by it Marlow on the other hand is able to resist the temptations that doomed Kurtz he leaves the Congo with a greater understanding of the mysterious and impenetrable darkness that dwells there yet is frustratingly unable to really quantify it in any specific or explicit manner Marlows inability to give more than a generalized description of this central subject parallels a corresponding incapacity in Conrad The vast abstract darkness that he envisions is too complex and overwhelming to be reduced to a clear or explicit truth Instead the truths of the world that Conrad creates in Heart of Darkness are like those of the real world necessarily messy suggestive irrational and general In a sense it is trying to explain the unexplainable brings Marlow to the Congo in the first place Like a knight searching for adventure Marlow was drawn to the Congo the biggest the most blank so to speak p 71 place on the map Once there Marlow discovers firsthand the horrors of colonialism as well as an even greater pull in the figure of Kurtz a mysterious and
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