Final Paper Realization of the inner evil in the Heart of Darkness. Evil is an inherent part of all humans. This is clearly illustrated in the novella Heart of Darkness, by Joseph Conrad. As Marlow takes on the journey to find Kurtz, he really is taking a journey to find himself. Much to his dismay he realizes that the same evil Kurtz possesses, he possesses as well. Conrad uses this realization to show the reader that under the right circumstances, evil can overtake anyone’s mind and actions. When Marlow was sent on the mission to find Kurtz, his true self came out.
Kurtz was like Marlow when he first entered the Congo; he had good intentions. Marlow’s trip down the Congo represents a journey into his inner self. As he traveled further down the Congo he began to learn more about himself and became more savage. He started to realize he had more in common with the native savages than his own people. Kurtz was known as a smart and honorable man. He had been in the Congo for a very long time before Marlow was sent to look for him. Kurtz had been secluded from society for quite some time and had become a powerful, godlike presence over the inhabitants of the Congo.
He was originally sent to find ivory but found power. The power he possessed was the power to be evil. “Kurtz became ‘savage’… disconnected as it is from the restraining impulses of civilization, untrammeled, without sidewalks, or police men,” ( At the Heart of Darkness: Crimes Against Humanity and the Banality of Evil, Brigit and Daniel Maier-Katkin). The fact that Kurtz had no one to answer to, and, no one to judge him, gave him the opportunity to be evil. In the Congo, the only punishment is death, and Kurtz made sure that he wasn’t the one who’d be killed.
With good knowledge of Kurtz, Marlow was still eager to meet him. When Marlow finally met Kurtz he found evil. He realized the evil within all humans. Conrad shows the reader what man is without society, rules, and regulations. The reader learns how man can become a vicious animal in the wild and how it can exist in all people. When Marlow found Kurtz, he was very weak and was close to death. “As Kurtz emerges from his blankets … his moribund condition is also personally retributive, and oblique revenge on himself. (Lying as Dying in Heart of Darkness by Garret Stewart. ) Conrad shows us the peril and consequence of evil with the condition that Kurtz is in. He reminds the reader that being evil is not the right way to live and will eventually take its toll on a person’s mind, body, and soul. Kurtz dies on the way back home in the boat and his last words were “The horror, the horror. ” “His was an impenetrable darkness. I looked at him as you peer down at a man who is lying at the bottom of a precipice where the sun never shines,” Marlow said about Kurtz.
This shows how empty and cold Kurtz looked as he was dying. When Marlow returned home he comes across Kurtz’s fiance. She was upset and asked Marlow about Kurtz’ last words. He lies to her and tells her his last words were her name. He lied because he didn’t have the heart to tell her that Kurtz went insane and became evil, he kept it to himself and made her last thought of Kurtz a good one: “I could not tell her. It would have been too dark-too dark altogether…. ” Marlow’s journey into the heart of darkness, into his inner self, was a positive life lesson.
Kurtz, who represented evil, went down with the evil. When Marlow came out of the Congo he survived evil, he did not give in to the evil that was present throughout his journey. Marlow did not succumb to the temptations that Kurtz did. Even though he lies to Kurtz’ fiance he has still become a good person. He will forever remember the memory of Kurtz and the inner evil that he came across in the heart of darkness. Conrad shows that in the end evil will fail and good will prevail.