In to the place inside Africa but it

In
the novella Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad, Kurtz’s
physical illness is only a window that shows how
diseased his mind had become over time.  Kurtz’s madness and
savageness made him physically ill because he was starting to see into the
depths of his own soul and realizes that the same thing could happen to anyone. Kurtz’s realization changed the perspective of
humanity.As a person approaches a glimpse of heaven or hell. In Kurtz’s
situation, he saw hell because even though he was a good man, his
soul becomes empty because it has been damaged by greed and his lack
of morality. His last words show evidence
of this because he is being forced to leave Africa, which he sees as his own
sanctuary, and there he had the highest power. The power of the deep
forests and the environment can really affect the mental state of anyone because of the unpredictability of
nature and the people within it. Colonialism is the main reason for these
effects. Kurtz had no restraint but the ‘primitives’ still had a sense of
decency, which was another reason he had lost his sanity and become a savage.
He could not handle the animalistic nature surrounding him. Instead of sticking
to his original task, he has been distracted because of the environment around
him. Kurtz was the
perfect embodiment of how investigating the heart of darkness can have a big
impact on humanity. “Heart of Darkness” is not only referring to the place
inside Africa but it also shows the evil side of
European Colonialism. Instead of becoming the light in this so-called “heart of darkness”, he did more harm
than good, causing him to lose all sanity, morality, and his previously
impeccable reputation. Kurtz’s passion for ivory was good and bad at the same
time. The amount of ivory he was gathering was very good. However, the way
Kurtz was obtaining these goods made him act like a madman. Kurtz’s obsession
for ivory was one of the reasons he’s lost all that is good in his life. His
methods were putting the Company at risk and his own reputation was sinking
down, but he does not care because he’s become mad.

Kurtz went from being “the
chief of the inner station” (Conrad 29) to an ill man who ruled the natives. He
went to Africa in hopes of civilizing the natives but was immediately blinded
by the power and he then continued to exploit the natives. This kind of
exploitation is what made Kurtz become a savage himself. His mental insanity
has made him bodily sick because of a ‘seeing’ he has made from his own soul.
Africa itself is full of mental detonation and unknown diseases back in the
day. It is interpreted that Kurtz saw the corruption and depravity of humanity.
The notes in the “International Society for the Suppression of Savage Customs”
shows a very clear way of Kurtz evolving into a madman. Charles Marlow said that
“It made me tingle with enthusiasm” (Conrad 63) from the beginning of reading
the article, but as the article comes to an end, the handwriting was written
with “an unsteady hand” (Conrad 63). The postscriptum is the part of the
pamphlet that took Marlow a second to digest, all it said was “Exterminate all
the brutes!” (Conrad 63) written harshly. It represents his declining sanity.

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 As he spent more
time in Africa with the savages, the more he became mad, and the more he became
mad, the closer he was to death. Kurtz’s last words were, “The horror! The
horror!” (Conrad 90). This is a cry pain and surrender for Kurtz. Marlow
described Kurtz’s last words as, “the expression of somber pride, of ruthless
power, of craven terror—of an intense and hopeless despair” (Conrad 90) leaving
room for audience interpretation. Even though Kurtz was expecting death from
his illness, his life still flashed before his eyes. He saw, “some image, at
some vision” (Conrad 90) and this is heaven or hell. Kurtz had been described
as a remarkable man throughout the novel by people in Europe who knew him
before his voyages. However, by the end of the book, his soul was empty because
he was too greedy and manipulative. His madness also represents amorality and
his overall character represents all that is bad in imperialism. The glimpse of
hell made him scream his last words knowing that he could potentially stay down
there forever, and this would make him suffer in life and death.

Colonialism
is the exploitation of resources and ethics to one country by another and the dominant
country extends control and authority over the weaker people, as well as their territories.
This colonial exploitation that Kurtz tried to force to the Africans, happened
to him in reverse. Instead of him civilizing Africa, he became a savage. Since
his original plan to colonize the natives did not work out, he formed a bond
with the savages causing Kurtz to be their god-like figure. When going into the
heart of Africa, Kurtz didn’t  know what
awaits him when he gets there. This unawareness affected his mental state
because he didn’t feel like he belonged in Africa with the natives. When Kurtz
obtained this power, he became amoral and had no restraint. The natives were
the ones who held back from cannibalizing and ate hippotamus meat instead of
human flesh. Kurtz however, attacked every village in sight. He even decorated
huts with heads on stakes as fences. Marlow himself keeps saying “Restraint!
What possible restraint?” (Conrad 52).

The term ‘darkness’ is referred to by Marlow
as the heart of the jungle itself. Darkness is used metaphorically and
symbolically throughout the book, rather than specifically. It is what’s eating
away everything that is left of Kurtz’s sanity and is the cause of his
destroyed soul.  Kurtz’s character is the
perfect example of what happens when humans try to Colonialize their ethics on
to the natives. Instead of being light to the people and the place itself, the
distraction given to him by greed and amorality made him do more harm than
good. The meaning of ivory has also been changed. Over time, Kurtz didn’t see
it as a precious resource anymore, but instead, he saw it as an excuse to
attack villages and use his superiority. Even though collecting loads ivory
gave a good name to the people back in Europe, his madness did not make him see
how this is doing harm to his reputation. 

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