In Heart of Darkness, who said, "I laid the ghost of his gifts at last with a lie"?

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The Heart of Darkness follows Marlow on his journey up the Congo River seeking out Kurtz , who is praised throughout the villages for his God-like qualities. It is later revealed that Kurtz’s actions are not as honorable as his reputation. Kurtz entrusts Marlow with a confidential package, and as...

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The Heart of Darkness follows Marlow on his journey up the Congo River seeking out Kurtz, who is praised throughout the villages for his God-like qualities. It is later revealed that Kurtz’s actions are not as honorable as his reputation. Kurtz entrusts Marlow with a confidential package, and as Kurtz lies dying, Marlow hears him weakly whisper “The horror. The horror.”

Later, Marlow meets with Kurtz’s Intended, or his fiancée, and that is when these words are spoken by Marlow. Dressed all in black, she is obviously still mourning the death of her fiancée. She pushes Marlow to tell her Kurtz’s last words. Instead of telling her the truth, he chooses to lie and say that her name was the last word he spoke.

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Marlow makes this comment towards the end of Part Two when he breaks from his narrative and addresses the passengers on the Nellie. Marlow has just finished describing how the Natives ambushed their steamboat just miles from Kurtz's Central Station and he believed for a brief moment that he would never get to experience the sound of Kurtz's voice. One of the passengers on the Nellie intervenes by commenting on Marlow's absurd behavior and he proceeds to laugh and criticize them for never experiencing the depraved nature of the wilderness, which is completely void of civilization. Marlow then says, "I laid the ghost of his gifts at last with a lie . . . " (Conrad, 93) Marlow's comment foreshadows Kurtz's death later on in the story and suggests that Marlow does not speak about Kurtz's depravity, his reverence among the Natives, or his accomplishments in the African bush once he returns from his enlightening expedition into the heart of darkness. Later on, Marlow lies to Kurtz's Intended and keeps the dark truth to himself.

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