Monday, September 6th, 2010...4:40 pm

The Mystery of Kurtz

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Heart of Darkness was quite a complicated read to be sincere. It had me going back in forth with reading certain passages and trying to fit together bits of pieces that didn’t quite make sense. One character that had me re-reading passages constantly was the famous Mr. Kurtz. Such a weird man to be sincere. His character through out the story was transformed from being a mysterious hated trader, to being a powerful God to many, and ended up being a sick man, physically and mentally.

At the beginning of the story he was a mystery. A mystery I wanted to uncover. With all the stories of his great doings, I was right there with Marlow, wanting to meet this famous Mr. Kurtz. At first I thought maybe he was just a made up character. A person the company invented as a way the get Marlow, the manager and the pilgrims to travel to the Congo just for Ivory. But as the story progresses, Marlow hears the stories of the powerful Mr Kurtz and how he is known as bringing the most Ivory to the Company. The manager and many other traders were envious of Mr. Kurtz, but who wouldn’t? Since many didn’t know his secret on how is he capable of bringing that much Ivory.

As the mystery of who is Mr. Kurtz continues, Marlow meets a Russian trader who tells him things about Mr Kurtz that many don’t know. About how he talks about love, justice, conducts of life and recites Poetry, a sight many people haven’t seen. A powerful man who was “one of the immortals” (139). A description that makes me believe, hey maybe he is a God.

And that’s when the “real” Mr. Kurtz is seen. A sick man who I believe instead of taking care of himself became greedy and raided all the countryside for more ivory. He was like a God worshipped by a Native tribe who followed him, “he came to them with thunder and lightning you know – and they had never seen anything like it..” said the Russian trader on how the tribe adored Mr. Kurtz. (131) 

That is when Marlow, as myself got to meet the “real” Mr Kurtz, a man who is sick physically and mentally. He let the power he had consume him and not realize reality. Mr. Kurtz should have left when the russian trader suggested him to go because he was very ill. Even Marlow noticed that he was not mentally stabled, “But his soul was mad. Being alone in the wilderness, it had looked withing itself and by heavens.” (144).

At the end upon Mr. Kurtz death, I sort of figured out who Kurtz really was but then when his mysterious wife came along, I gave up on who Mr. Kurtz was. His wife described him as a remarkable man, a man who I didn’t see during my reading. Even though Marlow agreed with what his wife said out of politeness, I know he didn’t agree with her. He wasn’t the Mr. Kurtz she described, maybe he was at first but the Congo changed the man. He was a very smart and powerful man because he knew how to express himself in ways people would follow, but these “people” were natives who if you show them “thunder and lightning” they would worship you as a God. So was Mr. Kurtz really as smart as people believed he was, or did he just take advantage of people who didn’t quite know much? I guess it all depends on your opinion.

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