Heart of Darkness Questions and Answers
by Joseph Conrad

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What is the climax of Heart of Darkness?

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Hollis Sanders eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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I am inclined to agree with you, as are most literary scholars who have studied the work. The climax begins to build when Marlow finds Kurtz. The tension builds a slow panic within the reader at the moment we see Kurtz' home adorned with impaled heads. It is revealed that Kurtz has manipulated the natives into idolizing him as some sort of god, even though now he has begun to fall ill.

It seems to Marlow that Kurtz soul is being taken over by the jungle, corrupted by the heart of darkness. When Kurtz dies, his final words are "The Horror! The Horror!" Perhaps in his final moments, Kurtz became consciously aware of the influence the Congo had over him, and felt remorse for his actions.

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ms-mcgregor eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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write1,918 answers

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I think you are correct. The climax comes when Kurtz dies---leaving the mystery to what he means by "the horror, the horror." Kurtz had "stepped over the edge" while Marlow has stepped back from the madness that consumed Kurtz. The rest of the story is simply the resolution of Marlow's search and culmination in allowing Kurtz's intended to remain unaware of Kurtz's insanity.

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yuewon459 | Student

would it be when marlow confront kurtz?