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I don't question Marlow's intentions for his journey. He needed a job and had experience piloting boats in foreign lands. When he enters the Congo, I do agree the thrusts are both forwards and backwards. Marlow physically moves forward in the steamship yet emotionally, he is both in awe and in agony. Marlow feels the pull of the jungle yet knows it will drive him into madness. He sees Kurtz as both a great man and a scoundrel. Marlow feels for the natives and despises his own kind.,all the while knowing that the natives (like the cannibals) may well turn on him.