Heart of Darkness Questions and Answers
by Joseph Conrad

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In Heart of Darkness, Marlow hates the lies. However his final act is lying to Kurtz's intended about the dying man's last words. What are the reasons for Marlow's lies?

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Marlow thinks he's being compassionate by lying to Kurtz's intended. But in actual fact, he's unwittingly perpetuating the system of oppression and exploitation which helped to create this colonial Frankenstein's monster. For if people are only palmed off with a sanitized version of Kurtz's last words, how will they ever be able to confront the horrors of colonialism that Kurtz himself recognized all too late? Marlow may have become thoroughly disillusioned with the whole colonial project, but he perpetuates it by romanticizing Kurtz's death.

If Kurtz's intended, the woman who knew him better than anyone else in the world, will never get to know what he became out there in the jungle, then neither will anyone else. It will be Marlow's little secret, something that he will more than likely take to his grave. Yet this information is not his to hold; it must be imparted to others, not just for the sake of Kurtz's intended, but for society as a whole, so people can better understand the...

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