Heart of Darkness Questions and Answers
by Joseph Conrad

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In Heart of Darkness, how is Kurtz a representation of Marlow?

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In Joseph Conrad's novel, it is implied that Kurtz is an example of what happens to people who live in the jungle. Though Kurtz gained fame, glory and riches through his travels into the jungle in search of ivory, his success was not long lived. Marlow, when he originally left London, wanted the same things as Kurtz. He too wished to be successful in the new ivory trade and to provide for himself with gained wealth. The parallels between Kurtz's and Marlow's intentions are clear in the beginning of the novel.

However, Kurtz went too deep into the jungle, too close to the native people, and stayed for too long - madness and death resulted from his stay! Marlow learned from Kurtz and from his death. Marlow turned back from the heart of the jungle and fought the darkness that threatened him. The characters' similarities start to disappear when Kurtz dies, for Marlow changes his goals and goes on to live a much longer life. Both men realise the great capacity for evil in the world, which is an important lesson that affects them in different ways.

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