An Analysis Of The Women In "Heart Of Darkness" By Joseph Conrad

473 words - 2 pages

Heart of DarknessA striking contrast in the story "Heart of Darkness" by Joseph Conrad is the differences between the two women that Kurtz is involved with. His intended, a white woman who waits faithfully for him in Europe, and his fiery African mistress help to reinforce the themes and ideas in the story.The two main female characters can be seen as symbols of the contrast between light and darkness. Kurtz's mistress is "savage and superb, wild-eyed and magnificent." There is something "ominous and stately in her deliberate progress." She embodies the wild, untamed ...view middle of the document...

There is nothing evil about her, only naïve good-intentions and unquestioning loyalty.Kurtz's mistress and his Intended also help us gain insight into his decline into madness. When Marlow meets him he no longer cares for the principles of society, and is cheating on his fiancé with the African woman. The African woman represents how Kurtz has formed an "alliance" with the natives.Conrad's own belief that women are far removed from the reality of men is reinforced through his portrayal of Kurtz's Intended. She cherishes the thought that Kurtz is a man dedicated to "saving" the Africans. She is certain that Kurtz loved her faithfully, never realizing that he has an African lover. "I alone know how to morn him as he deserves," she seems to say. At the end of the tale, Kurtz finds her so pathetic he attempts to lie to her about Kurtz's last words. In her naivety, she seems to be living in a dream world.Despite their differences, Kurtz's two women lovers in "Heart of Darkness" function as blank pages that Joseph Conrad can use to depict the removal from reality that he sees in women at the turn of the century. One, the African lover, represents darkness and the raw savageness of Africa, while the other, Kurtz's Intended, portrays trust and naivety of European women. These portrayals add to the themes and ideas from the story.

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