Heart of Darkness

by: Joseph Conrad

Five Key Questions

Summary Five Key Questions

5) Why does Marlow lie to Kurtz’s Intended?

Marlow lies to Kurtz’s Intended to spare her the painful reality of her fiancé’s descent into madness and evil. The Intended has a naïve, unshakeable faith in Kurtz. Marlow refers to this faith as a “great and saving illusion that shone with an unearthly glow in the darkness.” The darkness described here represents the truth about how Kurtz was entirely corrupted by the power he wielded in the Congo. Marlow lies that the last word Kurtz uttered was his fiancée’s name because “it would have been too dark” to tell her that Kurtz last spoke of pure and desolate horror.