Heart of Darkness Questions and Answers
by Joseph Conrad

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In Heart of Darkness, what is the significance of Marlow hearing Kurtz's last words?

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In Part Three of the novella, Marlow has the opportunity to hear Kurtz 's final words, which are "The horror! The horror!" (Conrad, 116). There are several interpretations of Kurtz's final words, which have multiple meanings and reflect his thoughts regarding humanity, his evil deeds, colonialism, and civilization. One could interpret Kurtz's final words as a summation of the atrocities he witnessed by the Company, which serve as an indictment to colonialism and British imperialism. His final words could also be a moment of self-awareness, where Kurtz acknowledges the corrupt nature of his soul as well as his evil deeds. Kurtz's last words could reflect his crumbling sanity as he completely loses his grasp of reality. He could also be describing what lies behind the thin veil of civilization, which is chaos, violence, and hysteria. In the depths of the Congolese jungle, Kurtz ruled as a malicious tyrant without rules or regulations. His desire for ivory completely undermined the...

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