Novel “Heart of Darkness” : Usage of “The Horror. the Horror”

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Mr. Kurtz’s last words in the “Heart of Darkness” were “The horror. The horror” has various meanings. First, the words show his reaction to what he witnessed in Africa. The terms horror depicted the exploitation that was seen in Africa and the evil practices of humans. It is something terrifying and thus pushed for his terms “The horror. The horror” at the end. During the colonization period, the Europeans did various things to Africa in the name of progress such as slave trade. In all these aspects, the Europeans did everything they could to humiliate and create fear among Africans and thus making it difficult for them to resist. As a consequence, it becomes easier to take advantage and thus exploit the available resources. Instead, the people ended up loosing more than gaining in the long run. The words “The horror” can be considered to describe this entire situation that Africans faced.

On the other perspective, his last words can be considered to refer to his reaction to what he has become. During his experience in Congo, Kurtz witnessed a lot of imperialism and exploitation of Africans. As a consequence, this changed him in many ways. The novel from the start shows the psychological changes that have taken place as he travels into Congo which is described as “heart of darkness.” From his experiences in Congo, it can thus be concluded that some level of insanity has developed in Kurtz which is referenced in his last words. Once a person has experienced a terrifying event, they are likely to be changed for the worse. In such cases, such events push for their changed lifestyle of beliefs and further ensures that they remain tormented. It is thus possible that Kurtz last words in the “Heart of Darkness” were focused on his change due to the issues that he faced in his experience.

During his time in Africa, Kurtz becomes corrupt due to the things that he found in this part of the world. In the novel, he described his brutality in Africa which was carried in the name of progress and civilization as “exterminate all the brutes.” One of the most brutal aspects that developed in him is his need for the black Africans to worship and adore him as a god, an aspect that can be considered as extremely brutal as it focused on establishing his status as a superior being. In his last moments, he thus reflects on all these evil deeds that he perpetrated in the innocent Africans and thus considered it as something that changed him. His last words can thus be considered to describe this change that occurred to him and further ensured his changed behavior.

Literary Analysis of “The horror. The horror.”

Kurtz’s last words before his death depicted the effects of colonization in Africa. The depiction can be related to many aspects of society. First, colonialism and inhumanity portrayed by the west in Africa led to the death of numerous people and further loss of assets. For example, the colonialisms moved to many African countries to find precious metals and lands that they would explore to their benefit. In Africa, the Westerners found the Africans were unable to defend their territories, and thus it became easier to exploit them and thus take over everything that belonged to them. “The horror. The horror” meant that everything that the westerners did in African could be concluded as horrific as it did not help Africans. It only contributed to increased corruption, deaths, and inhumanity.

The experiences that Africans faced through European brutality is something that many people read through history and overlook. It is, however, something that lives among many people in society. People are filled with rage and animosity. For example, most people focus on fulfilling their own needs and thus do everything to exploit anything available. It is something common in the world today, and thus these last words said by Kurtz can be used to depict what the society has become. The society today is filled with many moral wrongs which people do and benefit from them in one way or another. For example, corruption which is filled in the society today is used to make a few people productive while letting the rest suffer. Such moral wrongs which happen in society today as a result of civilization can be considered as “horror” as the experiences that Kurtz underwent.

The other aspect which can be considered in the context of the words said by Kurtz is the price for humanity. In one way or another, sins committed against humanity are likely to be paid off through deaths or devastating events. It is similar to the case in the novel. Mr. Kurtz did everything possible to exploit Africans even through the visits were meant to help conquer and spread the gospel. The focus rather shifted to the exploitation of resources and deaths. In his last moments, one can note that he suffered from mental and physical inabilities and thus he was weak and unable to save himself. In his last words, it seems like an acceptance that everything done during the period was not pleasing at all. His thoughts were rather focused on how to save the people of Africa and get the right solution to the problems even though it was too late.


In conclusion, “Heart of Darkness” novel presents numerous moral lessons to society today. It is something applicable in many situations that people often use to exploit further. The analysis has shown that the use of the words “The horror. The horror” was based on various atrocities that the westerners did to Africans in the name of cavitation. Africans in the colonial period were unable to remain protected against the Europeans due to their superiority in terms of civilization and weapons. The Europeans had already fought many wars, and thus they had enough experience to over power Africans and remain stronger and more stable.

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Novel "Heart of Darkness” : Usage of “The Horror. The Horror”. (2021, Mar 13). Retrieved from

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