Heart of Darkness Questions and Answers
by Joseph Conrad

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I know that Marlow and Conrad are alter egos in the book Heart of Darkness, but how are Kurtz and Marlow alter egos in the novel?

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This is a very deep question which I will try to do justice in the space allotted, but just be aware that entire PhD theses have been written on this topic! You are definitely right in suggesting that there is some kind of deep connection between Marlow and Kurtz suggested in the novel.

What is important to realise is that as Marlow penetrates further into the unknown, his capacity for self-control and "inborn strength" are tested. His real trial, however, only takes place when he feels he has been "transported into some lightless region of subtle horrors" which Kurtz seems to inhabit. Kurtz is repeatedly described as a shadow, and when Marlow tries to convey the essence of his experience, he declares "I am trying to account to myself for - for - Mr. Kurtz - for the shade of Mr. Kurtz." Though Kurtz exists as a character in his own right, there is a...

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