I noticed something. We've been pointing at imperialism as being sort of “over glorified” “evil”, and/or just plain old bad. Boo hoo imperialism. If any of you bothered to read my previous post, you’d know that it’s not as bad as it’s cracked up to be.
Anyway Kurtz comes a long as the big time head honcho, entrepreneur type guy that harvests ivory and wants to kill all the savages. Basically, from my stand point, we can assume that he represents imperialism. He’s great because he works based on his own ideals, and even everyone else in the name of imperialism is doing whatever it is they happen to be doing, in the name of Kurtz.
To the rest of us, that sounds dandy. How about taking it a step further? Suppose Kurtz… IS imperialism. Not that he represents imperialism, but that he is the reason for it, the motivation and the drive.
Ok, I’ll explain with a list of facts. Kurtz has this magical woo on people that is somewhat unjustified. Actually, it isn’t justified at all. Marlowe praises Kurtz all too often, as well as everyone else. Kurtz is original and a leader. His report wasn’t magic, it was a report, period, but everyone that knows him treats him like it. From there, Marlow already makes the assumption of how possibly great of a human being Kurtz is without actually even meeting the guy, and when he does, this impression GROWS.
Lets look at imperialism for a second, more specifically the goal. Why is everyone in the congo? They’re there for resources, in this case, ivory. What’s so great about ivory? Well… it’s rare I guess, makes a nice neck piece, whatever, it’s never really elaborated on. All we know is that everyone in the name of imperialism wants it.
Ivory and Kurtz… this is exactly linkable in that sense. If Marlowe represents the imperialists, and Kurtz represents the finite goal, then Marlowe illustrates just what imperialism does to people. Marlowe seemingly shunned imperialism throughout the novel, based on the description of the savages. Everyone else is so obsessed with getting resources that they intentionally overlook everything. Yet, when he meets Kurtz, the finite goal, and Marlowe even tries to kill him, he stops and, suddenly, realizes how wonderful Kurtz is, and he takes him BACK TO HIS SHIP, a representation of modern society. He is taking Kurtz, a thing from the wilderness at this moment, back to his ship, a conception of humans.
Hold on! What’s significant about all of this? Well…Isn’t that exactly what imperialism has as a lure on people? Kurtz isn’t just an opposite of Marlowe; he’s everything that Marlowe says he opposes. Marlowe is therefore a hypocrite, he treats the prize of Kurtz as being more valuable than anything or anyone else yet is in complete spite of the imperialist system.