skip to main | skip to sidebar
Home » , » In what sense is Mr. Kurtz regarded as the central figure in the novel Heart of Darkness ?

Mr. Kurtz as the central figure in the novel

Mr. Kurtz is one of the two principal characters in Heart of Darkness, the other being Marlow, the narrator of the story. The portrayal of Mr. Kurtz is one of Conrad's greatest achievements in the field of characterization and yet he remains a riddle, an elusive person whom we cannot understand fully.
Mr. Kurtz as the central figure in the novel

When Marlow arrives at the Company's Station, the chief accountant says about Mr. Kurtz whom he will see at the Inner station. The accountant calls Mr. Kurtz a "remarkable man" and a first class agent of the company. Mr. Kurtz is able to collect as much ivory for export as all the other agents of the company put together. Speaking of the high potential or Mr. Kurtz, the account presumes that one day Kurtz might rise to a very high position.

The Manager of the Company's Station tells Marlow that Mr. Kurtz is an exceptional man whose place at the Inner Station is indispensable. Unfortunately Mr. Kurtz falls ill and Marlow is shocked at this information because he wanted to discuss some important issues with Mr. Kurtz. Subsequently, Marlow collects more information about Mr. Kurtz from the Brick-maker, the Russian and the Manager at the Central Station.

Soon afterwards Marlow comes to know some more facts about Mr. Kurtz and his way of life at the Inner Station of which he holds the charge. A time comes when Mr. Kurtz wants to keep all the ivory for himself instead of allowing the company to take it away from him. But greed is only a small example of evil in this man. In certain other respects, he is the embodiment of evil. He begins to identify himself with the native savages and in fact, becames one of them. He not only participates in their activities and customs, but also presides over their midnight dances which always end with "unspeakable rites".

According to Marlow, Mr. Kurtz has become evil incarnate. Consequently in his deathbed he is found in terrible situation. He utters the words, " The horror! The horror! " These words sum up the evil in Mr. Kurtz and show his horror at what might happen to him after death when he goes to hell 

Mr. Kurtz represents the imperial exploitation of the backward people by the white invaders. He stands for avarice, list for power, commercial mentality and hypocrisy of the whitemen who claim to civilize the backwards but actually they are not willing to improve the conditions of savage's life.

To conclude, the main interest of the story lies in Marlow's meeting with Mr. Kurtz who is presented both as an extremely bad person and good as well. Both Kurtz and Marlow are prominent figures and both play significant roles in the story of Heart of Darkness. Kurtz is perfectly visualised from what is told of him by Marlow. We never see him in action; we see him only dying, and yet we know him well.


Post a Comment

Back To Top