Near the end of part II, and then in part III, Marlowe gives us some hints of his purpose in telling his story. What we have to keep in mind is that he tells it to men , and not just any men, but seasoned sailors who have seen the...
Near the end of part II, and then in part III, Marlowe gives us some hints of his purpose in telling his story. What we have to keep in mind is that he tells it to men, and not just any men, but seasoned sailors who have seen the realities of the world.
At the end of part II, he interrupts his narrative with an impassioned outburst:
“I laid the ghost of his gifts at last with a lie,” he began, suddenly. “Girl! What? Did I mention a girl? Oh, she is out of it—completely. They—the women, I mean—are out of it—should be out of it. We must help them to stay in that beautiful world of their own, lest ours gets worse.”
At the end of part III, he describes the scene of going to the house of Kurtz's intended bride, fully ready to tell her the story of her intended's death and his last words—"the horror, the horror"—but when he gets there, he finds she has an utterly idealized and sentimentalized idea of Kurtz as a great, noble, and good man. He therefore can't bear to tell her the truth, so he simply agrees with her assessment of Kurtz and says her beloved's last world was her name. That is the expected way the story is supposed to end to meet her romantic standards.
Yet it clearly tortures Marlowe, as we see in the earlier quote, that he told the fiancee a lie about Kurtz, replacing the dark true with a fake narrative: a stereotypical story of saying the beloved's name as his last words. Marlowe says men need women kept in ignorance—an assertion we might argue against—but he nevertheless needs and is bursting to tell someone the real story. This is a universal need: we all seem to have to express the reality of what has happened to us and profoundly transformed us to someone we believe can understand.