Heart of Darkness Questions and Answers
by Joseph Conrad

Heart of Darkness book cover
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How many women characters are to be found in the Heart of Darkness? Would you consider Conrad to be a misogynist?

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There are only three female characters in Heart of Darkness of any note: Marlow's aunt, Kurtz's mistress/concubine, and Kurtz's fiance. It would not be unfair to describe the role of all as negligible; in literary terms, they all could be classified as 'flat' characters.

The novella's view of women, as expressed by Marlow, is a hybrid of late-Victorian hypocrisy, repression, and condescension combined with the blunt indifference and ignorance of one who, like Conrad, has spent much of his life in the harshly masculine world of seafaring. This perspective is encapsulated in the following passage, which demonstrates that he is 'at sea,' in more ways than one.

It's queer how out of touch with truth women are. They live a world of their own, and there had never been anything like it, and never can be. It is too beautiful altogether, and if they were to set it up,...

(The entire section contains 434 words.)

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