Why is Marlow fascinated by Kurtz in Heart of Darkness?

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Marlow could not help but to be fascinated by the image of and the thought of eventually encountering in person the figure of Kurtz. Soon into his journey into the enormous forbidding jungles of Africa in Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness , Marlow begins hearing mentions of this mysterious figure, some references open and approving, others discrete and conspiratorial. Kurtz is spoken of as an up-and-coming figure in the Company, a man utterly devoted to his responsibilities and certain to move up in the corporate ranks. Before embarking into the jungle, Marlow relates a conversation with an accountant, an important figure in the profitable and rapacious ivory trade that lies at the center of Conrad’s narrative. The accountant explains that Mr. Kurtz is “a first-class agent” and “a very remarkable person.” Kurtz, the accountant notes, is the Company’s most productive agent, operating deep inside the continent’s interior under brutal conditions in the interest of accumulating...

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