Do you think Marlow's admiration and envy are justified in Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness?
Though Kurtz is clearly morally reprehensible (at least by the time we the readers meet him), there is a sense that Marlow's admiration and envy of the man is, in fact, justified. This justification has little to do with the terrible things Kurtz does; rather, it relies on the hypnotic and powerful things Kurtz says.
Conrad often describes Kurtz as a terribly powerful voice capable of exerting control over all who hear it. The sheer power of this voice, and by extension Kurtz himself, can clearly be seen in the way that all of the ivory traders in the company admire and envy Kurtz, even if they also fear him. Indeed, even the people who don't even seem to like Kurtz that much cannot help but fall under the man's spell, especially once he starts talking about all of his grand "plans." Thus, Conrad suggests Kurtz is something of a personified black hole; he pulls in all objects around him with a terrible and irresistible force. In that case, Marlow's envy and admiration would appear to be justified, as he seems to have almost no choice in the matter. Since Kurtz is incredibly charismatic, Marlow has little choice but to envy and admire the man. Indeed, toward the end of the novella, Marlow even seems to be disgusted by his own envy and admiration of Kurtz once he sees Kurtz's degradation. As such, it's possible for Marlow's envy and admiration of Kurtz to be justified, even though Kurtz is not an honorable man.
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