An Enigmatic Figure
Mr. Kurtz, a character of great intrigue, stands as one of the most enigmatic figures in 20th-century literature. He embodies the European imperialistic approach while also challenging European values. Kurtz's contradictory personality captivates Marlow and sparks a deep curiosity within him.
A Quest for Adventure
Similar to Marlow, Kurtz possesses a fondness for adventure, driving him to journey to Africa to fulfill the objectives of European imperialism, as outlined in the initial reports of the company. He embarks on a mission of "humanizing, improving, instructing" the natives, driven by philanthropic ideals.
A Shift in Power
However, as Kurtz delves deeper into the heart of the jungle, he undergoes a profound transformation. He abandons his philanthropic ideals and elevates himself to the status of a god among the natives at the Inner Station. The power he wields corrupts him, altering his perception and beliefs.
The Contradiction of Intentions
Initially concerned with the welfare of the African savages and aiming to bring the "light" of civilization to the Congo, Kurtz's endeavors yield opposite results. In his final moments, he embraces a belief that the Company should simply "Exterminate all the brutes!" This stark contradiction showcases the disillusionment and moral degradation brought about by imperialism.
A Dangerous Man
Kurtz becomes an exceedingly dangerous individual, fully aware of the Company's true objectives in the Congo. He deceives the Company's "humanistic" pretenses and represents the culmination of their imperialistic empire-building. Accumulating more ivory than all the other stations combined, Kurtz employs forceful and ruthless means to achieve his targets, unsettling figures like the Manager who criticizes Kurtz's "unsound method." Yet, Kurtz's actions merely mirror those of the entire company, without the veil of false intentions.
The Product of Europe
Marlow astutely observes that "All Europe contributed to the making of Kurtz," highlighting the role of European greed for power and the imperialistic empire-building in shaping Kurtz's character. This sentiment applies not only to Kurtz but to all Europeans involved in the pursuit of imperialistic dominance.
A Rejection of Perception
Kurtz demonstrates a lack of concern for others' opinions or how he is perceived by those he deems as "noxious fools." He openly acknowledges his own lusts and boldly tells the Manager that he is "Not so sick as you'd like to believe." This sentiment echoes the attitudes of Europeans involved in imperialistic empire-building, unapologetically driven by their desires.