Character Analysis The Harlequin


This Russian disciple of Kurtz is so named by Marlow because of the different-colored patches he wears on his clothes. The image of a clown in motley dress also suggests the Harlequin's position as Kurtz's "court jester." Despite the fact that Kurtz threatened to kill him, the Harlequin can only offer effusive praise of Kurtz's intellect, charisma, and wisdom. When Marlow first meets him, the Harlequin serves as a possible outcome of Marlow's journey: Will he remain his skeptical self or fall prey to the same "magic" that enraptured this man? The Harlequin says of Kurtz, "This man has enlarged my mind"; like Marlow, he finds Kurtz's voice fascinating, shocking, and compelling.