Heart of Darkness
How we cite our quotes:
"Sometimes I ask myself whether I had ever really seen him—whether it was possible to meet such a phenomenon! […]." (3.22)
The harlequin is so hilariously weird that Marlow can't help wondering if he was really real, or if he was just some deranged hallucination of the interior. We have to say, it doesn't seem impossible that Marlow just imagined him.
"I fancy I had some vague notion of falling upon him and giving him a drubbing. I don't know. I had some imbecile thoughts. The knitting old woman with the cat obtruded herself upon my memory as a most improper person to be sitting at the other end of such an affair. I saw a row of pilgrims squirting lead in the air out of Winchesters held to the hip. I thought I would never get back to the steamer, and imagined myself living alone and unarmed in the woods to an advanced age. Such silly things—you know." (3.26)
When Marlow goes chasing after Kurtz, he is confused and has evil thoughts like beating him or "giving him a drubbing" when he finds him. He is confused and certain images burst into his mind. Marlow is concerned mainly with an inevitable sense of catastrophe (which is why he thinks of the old woman who represents Fate) and fear (represented by the pilgrims shooting blindly from their hips).
"There was nothing either above or below him, and I knew it. He [Kurtz] had kicked himself loose of the earth. Confound the man! He had kicked the very earth to pieces. He was alone, and I before him did not know whether I stood on the ground or floated in the air." (3.29)
Kurtz has "kicked himself loose" of all things that humans know, which means that he has no set of morals and no definitions of good or evil anymore. Does that make him crazy? And does that mean that "crazy" is just relative to our expectations?