How can The Intended be characterized as ridiculous in Heart of Darkness?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I think that The Intended can be seen as ridiculous in a couple of ways.  The first is that she claims to know "everything" about Kurtz.  The fact is that she has no idea about Kurtz, what he does, and how he acts.  Her "love" of Kurtz is based purely on an illusion, one that she believes and refuses to see anything else.  At the same time, I think that the Intended can be seen as ridiculous because she seems to be more content with a facade rather than the truth.  However, I am not entirely certain that this is her creation.  Part of the strength of Conrad's work is that he is asserting that individuals must not capitulate to what society indicates is the truth, but rather individuals must establish and fight for discovery of this on their own.  The fact that the Victorian society of the time period emphasized "illusions," to a great extent, is the "ridiculous element" and the Intended is only a part of this, and not the source.  At the same time, the fact that women in the Victorian time period were driven and compelled to accept the male dominated reality of how history and reality is composed is an element that the novel also critiques.  In this, Conrad might be asserting that Victorian conceptions of the truth is more "ridiculous" than anything else.

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