Heart of Darkness
by Joseph Conrad
Heart of Darkness Mr. Kurtz Quotes
[Kurtz]: "'The horror! The horror!'" (3.43)
Kurtz’s final judgment on his life, his actions, mankind in general, imperialism, or his fate is one of deep and profound fear.
"It was more than a year since his death, more than a year since the news came; she [the Intended] seemed as though she would remember and mourn forever […]. But while we were still shaking hands, such a look of awful desolation came upon her face that I perceived she was one of those creatures that are not the playthings of Time. For her he had died only yesterday. And, by Jove! the impression was so powerful that for me, too, he seemed to have died only yesterday – nay, this very minute. I saw her and him in the same instant of time – his death and her sorrow – I saw her sorrow in the very moment of his death. Do you understand? I saw them together – I heard them together." (3.53)
Kurtz’s Intended seems as if she is not susceptible to the ravages nor the comforts of passing time. She stretches the time of mourning into eternity.
"You should have heard him say, 'My ivory.' Oh, yes, I heard him. 'My Intended, my ivory, my station, my river, my - ' everything belonged to him. It made me hold my breath in expectation of hearing the wilderness burst into a prodigious peal of laughter that would shake the fixed stars in their places. Everything belonged to him - but that was a trifle. The thing was to know what he belonged to, how many powers of darkness claimed him for their own. That was the reflection that made you creepy all over. It was impossible — it was not good for one either - trying to imagine. He had taken a high seat amongst the devils of the land - I mean literally." (2.29)
Kurtz, in his madness, is being taken over by the "powers of darkness." He no longer belongs to himself, but to the evil wilderness because he has accepted worship from the native Africans, who are described as "devils," and willingly taking his place among them. In essence, Marlow claims, Kurtz has accepted a seat in hell and thus belongs to the darkness.