Heart of Darkness

Kurtz finally passes away, and, at the text's conclusion, Marlow decides to visit Kurtz's "Intended" or fiancee. Why does Marlow lie to her about Kurtz's last words? Does his lie reflect any insight he has gained from his trip up the Congo and

to "the Heart of Darkness"? Explain.

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Marlow had seen some pretty bad stuff on his voyage down the Congo. Kurtz was an enigma to Marlow, a paradox of the intriguing and the despicable. I think he wanted to leave Kurtz's widow with something better than his fever induced, "the horror! the horror!" Here a lie sufficed to bring something good out of something so dark. Marlow confirms the widow's illusions about her husband to make her feel good and keep at least her world a little brighter,

"'His last word -- to live with,' she murmured. 'Don't you understand I loved him -- I loved him -- I loved him!'

"I pulled myself together and spoke slowly.

"'The last word he pronounced was -- your name.'"