The Intended is Kurtz’s fiancée who stays in Belgium while Kurtz travels to the African interior to make his fortune. She is beautiful and often connected with imagery of light and heaven. As Marlow learns in his conversation with her, she is naïve and idealistic, picturing Kurtz as something of a saint – going into Africa to spread goodness and civilization. She is utterly infatuated with Kurtz and believes herself the single most definitive authority on his character. But it becomes painfully obvious to us that she does not know the real Kurtz whatsoever. What she possesses is only a highly idealized image of the man.
The Intended not only propagates Marlow’s image of women as naïve, idealistic, and gullible, but also seems to represent the desire of white Europeans to turn blind eyes to the bloody realities and brutalities of imperialism, especially the injustices suffered by the native Africans. Like the Intended, white men want to believe in the good and civilizing characteristics of the pilgrims sent into the interior. They want the illusion of a universally altruistic mankind, and choose to ignore the atrocities of reality.
Besides her naiveté, the Intended’s most distinctive trait is her beauty, by which Marlow is struck the first time he lays eyes on her. She would make any man a proud wife. This is how she and many of the other women mentioned are seen – through the male gaze. Their value is measured by their beauty and idealism – their ability to make pretty but silent wives. But it may not all be chauvinism; the men’s need for the women to be beautiful may have something to do with a need for an idealistically beautiful conception of the world.