Heart of Darkness By Joseph Conrad Character Analysis The Intended

Kurtz's fiancée is marked — like the Harlequin — by her absolute devotion to Kurtz. When Marlow visits her after his return from Africa, he finds that she has been dressed in mourning for more than a year and still yearns for information about how her love spent his last days. However, she is actually devoted to an image of Kurtz instead of the man himself: She praises Kurtz's "words" and "example," assuming that these are filled with the nobility of purpose with which Kurtz began his career with the Company. Her devotion is so absolute that Marlow cannot bear to tell her Kurtz's real last words ("The horror! The horror!") and must instead tell her a lie that strengthens her already false impression of Kurtz. On a symbolic level, the Intended is like many Europeans, who wish to believe in the greatness of men like Kurtz without considering the more "dark" and hidden parts of their characters. Like European missionaries, for example, who sometimes hurt the very people they were professing to save, the Intended is a misguided soul whose belief in Marlow's lie reveals her need to cling to a fantasy-version of the what the Europeans (i.e., the Company) are doing in Africa.

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