Heart of Darkness
by Joseph Conrad
Heart of Darkness Chapter 3 Quotes
How we cite the quotes:
Citations follow this format: (Chapter.Paragraph)
"'Kurtz got the tribe to follow him, did he?' I suggested. He fidgeted a little. 'They adored him,' he said. The tone of these words was so extraordinary that I looked at him searchingly. It was curious to see his mingled eagerness and reluctance to speak of Kurtz. The man filled his life, occupied his thoughts, swayed his emotions. 'What can you expect?' he burst out; 'he came to them with thunder and lightning, you know—and they had never seen anything like it—and very terrible. He could be very terrible." (3.4)
Kurtz is so powerful that he manages to convince the native Africans to help him steal ivory from their fellow tribes. What's weird is we can't quite tell if the Africans worship him because they think he's awesome, or because they're terrified of him. Is it the same?
"I am not disclosing any trade secrets. In fact, the manager said afterwards that Mr. Kurtz's methods had ruined the district. I have no opinion on that point, but I want you clearly to understand that there was nothing exactly profitable in these heads being there." (3.5)
All of a sudden, Marlow seems awfully concerned with the Company's profits. Like the manager, he disagrees with Kurtz's judgment here, saying that beheading native Africans wasn't exactly profitable. Callous? Cynical? Satiric? You decide.
"They [the heads] only showed that Mr. Kurtz lacked restraint in the gratification of his various lusts, that there was something wanting in him - some small matter which, when the pressing need arose, could not be found under his magnificent eloquence." (3.5)
Er, saying that the beheadings shows that Kurtz couldn't "restrain" his "lusts" seems like a bit of an understatement. This "lack of restraint" ultimately brings about Kurtz's downfall. You think?