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Heart of Darkness

Heart of Darkness

by Joseph Conrad

Fate and Free Will Quotes

How we cite our quotes:

Quote #13

"Poor fool! If he [the helmsman] had only left that shutter alone." (2.30)

Marlow laments his helmsman’s fate and wishes that he could have had the foresight to prevent his death. It is as if the helmsman was destined to die.

Quote #14

[The harlequin]: "'So many accidents happen to a man going about alone, you know. Canoes get upset sometimes – and sometimes you've got to clear out so quick when the people get angry.'" (2.37)

The harlequin comments on the fickle nature of Fate in the interior. It gives men "many accidents," as if trying to kill those who dare venture into the interior.

Quote #15

"I did not envy him [the harlequin] his devotion to Kurtz, though. He had not meditated over it. It came to him, and he accepted it with a sort of eager fatalism." (3.1)

When it comes to Kurtz, the harlequin seems to have no free will. He does not think (or "meditate") over Kurtz’s purpose but accepts his words thoughtlessly, fatefully. Marlow thinks him an eager fatalist whose blind devotion to Kurtz can only end badly.

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