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Heart of Darkness

by Joseph Conrad

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What is the significance of Kurtz's intended to the overall plot?

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When we learn near the end of the novella the fact that Kurtz has a fiance back in England, we are forced to reconsider his humanity, or at the very least his former humanity. It is easy to dismiss Kurtz as a madman based upon the behavior that we witness throughout Heart of Darkness. However, knowing that he has a fiance requires us to acknowledge that someone, somewhere, at one time or another found this man to be lovable and worthy of marriage. Clearly, he probably doesn't appear that way to many readers but to others--who may or may not be aware of his actions in Africa--he is, presumably, a respected gentleman. As readers we are left to navigate these two polarized views of Kurtz and decide for ourselves where the truth resides.

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