Examples Of Sacrifice Kurtz

2044 Words9 Pages
Westby Caspersen November 16, 2015
The Price of a Sacrifice Sometimes what is sacrificed is much more valuable then what is gained in return. Kurtz’s desire to become godlike, and his hunger for absolute power, cause him to sacrifice his humanity to the dark wilderness in order to attain more riches. Kurtz deserts his virtuous ideas and remarkable potential to do great things due to an addiction to wealth, and as a result, becomes a slave to the wilderness and his own lack of restraint. Before his sacrifice, Kurtz resembled a light in the darkness; he saw the cruelty and evil consuming Africa and decided to try to end it. However, his tragic flaw of hubris led him to be overly ambitious in thinking that he could accrue absolute power
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Marlow overhears a man saying that “anything—anything can be done in this country. That’s what I say; nobody here, you understand, here, can endanger your position.” (54), and this fact of Africa proves to be a temptation Kurtz cannot resist. Even Kurtz’s loyal disciple remarks that, “he could be very terrible” (104) and tells of how Kurtz threatened to kill him unless he gave up a small piece of ivory which he had been given as a present. The fact that Kurtz was willing to kill a man over a trivial sum of ivory, when he already had so much of it, demonstrates his immoral tyranny. Kurtz continues to act cruelly as “there was nothing on earth to prevent him from killing whom he jolly well pleased.” (104) and he therefore faced no consequences. This is most blatantly shown when Marlow discovers that Kurtz has blazoned heads of natives on stakes in front of his door. The heads did not increase his power over the natives, which was already absolute; they just served as a testament to his cruelty and “showed that Mr. Kurtz lacked restraint in the gratification of his various lusts.” (107) Kurtz’s unrestrained power great wealth cause to sacrifice his moral code so that he may haughtily exhibit his…show more content…
The fact that such a remarkable man could fall to utter doom through his own hubris and a sacrifice where he thought he would emerge triumphant shows the true danger of darkness. The fact “all Europe had contributed to the making of Kurtz” (90) and the high praise which he originally received show that Kurtz represents more than just man, he is the ideal European. His downfall shows that not even the most ambitious and skilled men conquer nature and resist man’s sinful instincts when there is nothing to stop them. Kurtz had a stare “wide enough to embrace the whole universe, piercing enough to penetrate all the hearts that beat in the darkness. He had summed up—he had judged. ‘The horror!’” (132) This summarizes Conrad’s main point that darkness and man’s sinful instincts are not limited to Africa; they just occur there because there is no consequence for cruelty. Kurtz’s sacrifice shows that darkness is innately in every man’s heart, even in London, the center of civilization where the Thames “seemed to lead into the heart of an immense darkness.”
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