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Heart of Darkness

Heart of Darkness


by Joseph Conrad

Mr. Kurtz Timeline and Summary

  • We first hear about Kurtz when the accountant mentions that Marlow will surely meet Kurtz if is he headed into the interior. Kurtz is a top agent stationed in the interior, in "true ivory country," and he pumps out more ivory than all the other stations combined.
  • Sweet! Can't wait to meet him.
  • Oops, except that we learn at Central Station that he's very sick. Also, everyone in Africa seems to be jealous of his success.
  • When Marlow finally reaches the Inner Station, he meets Kurtz when a group of native Africans bears him down in a stretcher.
  • He's not looking too good, but he still has the voice of a radio announcer.
  • Kurtz has a private interview with the manager and they argue.
  • The evening before they plan to leave, Kurtz makes his escape. Or, makes his pathetic attempt to escape. He has to crawl on all fours into the wilderness, so obviously it doesn't take Marlow long to find him.
  • Kurtz orders Marlow to go and hide himself, although we're not sure from what.
  • Then there's a bunch of raving on about how great his plans were and how they've been destroyed by the pitiful.
  • Okay, so apparently Kurtz is totally crazy. Marlow forcibly carries him back and plops him on the boat.
  • When they're about to leave on the steamboat, the warrior woman breaks through and gestures to Kurtz. Kurtz seems to know what she's on about, but he's not telling.
  • A few days later, Kurtz deteriorates. He goes blind, says he can't see the light, and raves a little more.
  • And then he says "The horror! The horror!" and dies.