Africa and imperialism as a whole is manifested through two characters: the main character, Marrows Aunt and, the “prodigy’ ivory agent’s, Kurt, fiance©e. Marrows Aunt, an UN-nameless woman who is described by Marrow as ignorant to his intentions in Africa, “It appeared, however, I was also one of the Workers, with a capital-you know. Something like an emissary of light, something like a lower sort of Apostle…
She talked about “weaning those Ignorant millions from their horrid ways” till upon my word, she made me feel quite uncomfortable” (1 9), Marrows aunt leveled he was going to Africa to become a missionary and save the people of Africa from their uncivilized ways; this concept, termed “the white man’s burden,” was shared by many Europeans in that time. The concept first started as a poem by an English poet Rudyard Kipling, and is influenced by the theory of Social Darwinism, all of which reduces into the ultimate Resurrection mindset, that still exists today.
Marrows aunt compares what Marrow to “an emissary of light” (19) and with this echoes the belief of European supremacy and in the heart of darkness, which is Africa. Marrow does try to correct his aunt’s misguided beliefs, “l ventured to hint that the Company was run for profit” (19), but this proved ultimately futile, because of the aunt’s stubbornness. The situation between Marrow and his aunt parallels the persistent Ignorance of the Europeans views, such as “The White Man’s Burden” and Social Darwinism, held during 1 899 towards Africa.
At the end of the book Marrow visits The Intended, Kurt fiance©e, to tell her of his death and how honorable his duties in Africa were (in actuality Kurt went insane hill in Africa). Marrow was scared to tell The Intended about her fiance©ex.’s death and more scared of her reaction, “l heard her weeping she had hidden her face in her hand. It seemed to me that the house would collapse before I could escape, the heavens would fall upon my head” (72). Although, he did not tell her his last words, but instead told her his last words were her name, “the last word he pronounced was ?your name. I hear a light sigh and then my heart stood still, stopped dead short by n exulting and terrible cry, by the cry of inconvertible triumph and unspeakable pain” (72). The Irony of Marrow telling The Intended that Is Quartz’s last words were actually, ‘The horror! The horror! ” (64), meaning the horror that was supposedly Africa at the time. Marrow did not tell her the truth because It would have been too devastating for her, her whole pretty world would have been upside down; Knowing of all the devils of the world would have penetrated her altruistic beliefs, Marrow
He goes on to explain that, if he did tell her the truth too much evil would haunt her, ‘in the triumphant darkness from which I could not have defended her” (70). The Intended symbolizes the ignorance of what Africa made men into, which as it was Ninth Kurt completely insane, and the inability to recognize the change in the men. It does not seem to be a coincidence that Conrad describes the naive European beliefs about Africa through women characters; the idea of altruism and charity is traditionally very feminine and with this also saying something about the naiveté© of
Omen altogether.. In doing this he also is saying that people who hold those beliefs are less educated; because, many women at that time were not given the opportunity to attend school, and were not encouraged to think that outwardly. Through these two women, Marrows Aunt and The Intended, Conrad explores the ignorance of the evils of imperialism that were held by Europeans during the late asses.