Marlow has a very specific and sexist attitude towards women. They play only minor roles in the novel and often live vicariously through their male counterparts. They are rarely given voices of their own and are more often seen than heard. The few exceptions – Marlow’s aunt and the Intended – often confirm Marlow’s assumption that women are naïve and idealistic. That they blind themselves to truths become Marlow’s sole belief, yet he seeks to keep them in their beautiful and idealized world.
Despite Marlow’s disparaging comments about women, a number of women display or exercise a substantial amount of power in Heart of Darkness.
All the women within Heart of Darkness reflect the values of their society and are viewed as nothing more than trophies for men. Even the women who seem at first to have power are in fact powerless upon closer inspection.