Heart of Darkness

Identify and explain significant quotes in Marlow's final conversation with Kurtz.

AP English 4 homework

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‘I am lying here in the dark waiting for death.’ The light was within a foot of his eyes. I forced myself to murmur, 'Oh, nonsense!' and stood over him as if transfixed.

"Anything approaching the change that came over his features I have never seen before, and hope never to see again. Oh, I wasn't touched. I was fascinated. It was as though a veil had been rent. I saw on that ivory face the expression of somber pride, of ruthless power, of craven terror—of an intense and hopeless despair. Did he live his life again in every detail of desire, temptation, and surrender during that supreme moment of complete knowledge? He cried in a whisper at some image, at some vision,—he cried out twice, a cry that was no more than a breath—

"'The horror! The horror!'

Kurtz loses himself and detaches from everything earthly. His soul has broken forbidden boundaries because it only concentrated on itself.

Kurtz dies painfully both because his obsessive tasks were not complete and because his soul has been sold. The "horror" he pronounces on his deathbed is a judgment on how he has lived his life. We can definitely see Kurtz's demise as a possible end for Marlow if he had not left the Congo. As it was, the wilderness was already creeping and merging into his psyche, and there was a moment when he could not tell the difference between a drum beat and his own heartbeat. He appears to have escaped in time.


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