Posessed by power: "Heart of Darkness" by Joseph Conrad

Essay by aldensoHigh School, 12th gradeA, April 2006

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When separated from technological civilization humans often adopt new values and different views on life. The lack of technology and being surrounded by primitive beings changes one's perspective on the world. Sometimes people change for the better, but often for the worse. In the novel Heart of Darkness a character, Kurtz, goes into the Congo to earn money for his future. He lived with the natives of the land and they changed his view on life. At first, his main plan was to make money in order to pay for his marriage to his fiancé, but after time his views changed. In order to enter the Congo Kurtz was to masquerade as someone who was going to civilize the natives and make their lives easier. The company that was employing him was simply using him to get ivory and could not care less if Kurtz got killed when the natives realized that he was there for that reason.

Towards the end of the novel Kurtz was examining his life, and said, "The horror! The horror!" (Conrad, 105). When saying this Kurtz was speaking of the choices he had made in his lifetime, which he had realized were unintelligent: leaving his fiancé, the manner in which treated the natives and ultimately not returning to Brussels.

Kurtz chose to live in the Congo and leave his previous life behind, including his wife. He realized that he would rather have the power over people than the pressure of working for them. The temptation of being a high power caused Kurtz to make errors and bad choices. Kurtz regrets his choices at the end of his life. He left behind the woman he used to love, was going to marry, and was the reason behind going to Congo, just for a...