Heart of Darkness Questions and Answers
by Joseph Conrad

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What lie did Marlowe tell to Kurtz’s fiancée? Why?

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When Marlow goes to visit Kurtz's fiancée, she asks what Kurtz's last words were. As we know, his last words were "'The horror! The horror!" However, Marlow tells her his last words were her name:

The last word he pronounced was—your name.

Marlow does this because the fiancée has an exalted and romanticized vision in her mind of Kurtz as a "noble" man who would have done great and good things in the world for the betterment of the human race. She thinks she understood her betrothed. Marlow doesn't want to shatter her illusions. He doesn't want her to know the terrible reality of what was going in Africa and...

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