Explain how the full presentation of Kurtz is essential to the development of the social commentary and meaning of the work as a whole.This is in connection with my other question about Kurtz being...

Explain how the full presentation of Kurtz is essential to the development of the social commentary and meaning of the work as a whole.

This is in connection with my other question about Kurtz being evil for my research paper. Please help.

Asked on by peach1993

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I would like to think that Conrad presented Kurtz in a full manner to bring out the complexities in human character.  From a historical point of view, this can be extrapolated to refer to how the Age of Exploration and Colonization can be viewed.  In presenting Kurtz in a full manner, one cannot derive easy answers and has to wrestle with complexity before making a judgment.  For example, if Kurtz is seen as entirely evil, how does one explain his love for his intended?  While Kurtz might have become subsumed with a desire for power and control while in the Congo, he has not lost all of his human sensibilities as he still considers to be linked to his intended and demands for Marlow "to leave her out of it."  Additionally, Kurtz's last words has to bring some level of complexity in trying to assess whether or not he is pure evil.  His closing sentiments of consciousness allow the reader to see that Kurtz might not be a solely malevolent character who lacks the responsibility to render a judgment that is damning to self.  Kurtz does this in "the horror," a statement of reality of which he is a part.  In presenting him in a full manner, Conrad has been able to compel the reader to assess his character in wide terms, without demonizing him as "sinner" or "saint."  Conrad might want the reader to make the argument that Kurtz is merely human, and his failures are ones to which we must be attune in preventing.

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