What techniques are used by the author to introduce Kurtz throughout the whole novel in Heart of Darkness?

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M.P. Ossa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In the story "Heart of Darkness" the character of Kurtz is enigmatic and curious through Marlow's eyes.  The stories that are said of him, and the grandiosity with which he is described as a man who "civilizes" the dark, savage land, and as a reformer of some sorts makes both us as readers, as well as Marlow, wonder all kinds of things about Kurtz.

As the story progresses, the author builds more curiosity behind the mythical characteristics of Kurtz, thus building momentum through the different perspectives that arise from both the narrator and from the reader about this character.

When we finally get to know Kurtz we find a man who is narcissistic, hedonistic, immature, and overall an abusive and horrible person whose need for attention can only be achieved by creating himself into a god to the natives.

Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think the previous post was quite strong.  The idea of presenting Kurtz through Marlow's eyes is an extremely compelling technique.  In doing so, the reader understands what and how Kurtz is and what he is like through the perceptions of another.  This helps to heighten the image in one's mind about Kurtz.  It also helps to add further dimension to Kurtz, almost as if he is more than human and like a mythic figure.  This technique helps to heighten the perceptions of Kurtz on the part of Marlow and the reader and in doing so, helps to blur the line between what is true and valid and what is exaggeration.  Such a blurring of lines also represented much of the Colonial experiment.