Conrad uses this moment to create an epic comparison between Marlow searching for Kutrz and a knight searching for an enchanted princess. Both put the protagonist in a heroic, positive light as he rescues his desired person (even though Marlow doesn’t exactly have the initial intention of saving Kurtz from the insanity and absurdness of the Congo wilderness).
In my eyes, a great representation of this fairy-tale scene is when Shrek and Donkey journey to rescue Princess Fiona in the first Shrek movie. This clip, though riddled with funny dialogue between Donkey and Shrek, has several elements that reproduce the epic atmosphere that I picture when a knight saves his damsel in distress, while still connecting to the dangers of the Congo presented in the novel, like a rickety bridge (similar to the winding and unreliable waters of the river?) crossing over a pit of bubbling lava (if we continue the Dante’s Inferno metaphor, the lava symbolizes Hell?).
Additionally, this quote serves as another moment of uncertainty in the novel. At this moment our image of Kurtz is still rather, well, foggy. Marlow refers to him as “this Kurtz” in order to relay the idea that he is still a rather ambiguous figure, whom no one actually knows for sure. This relates to the Shrek clip because Shrek and Donkey don’t know anything about their journey certainly either, and Donkey even asks where the Princess will be. Also, Shrek and Donkey are clueless with regards to the Dragon—neither know where it is, nor how powerful/ferocious it is. This somewhat relates to the ambiguity of the Congo itself, as Marlow and his crew don’t know where the natives are hiding in the dark forrest, nor do they know how/when/if they will attack.
Overall, this quote has aspects of both clarity and uncertainty. Both are utilized by Conrad as tools to set the scene, specifically by portraying the uncertainty the characters feel and by clearly mentioning the difficulties Marlow and his crew must face on their journey.
Christine’s post made me realize that there is a Wizard’s of Waverly Place episode that relates to the Tempest. There aren’t many parallels between the show and the book, but there is an episode in which Alex charms a school mural in order to make the viewer see whatever they want to see. This is very similar to how the characters of the Tempest sees the island in a different way, case sensitive to their situation. Watch this clip for about two minutes, and I hope you see the connection!
Not only does this connection feel appropriate because of the magic happening in both the show and the play, but both gives each character some sort of entitlement to their own views. Prospero sees the island as his— he is incredibly power hungry and feels entitled to take full control of the island like a king. To Ferdinand, the island is the place where he found Miranda to love, and to Miranda the island is both her home and where she finds Ferdinand. I think it’s really interesting to notice how each person has a different perspective because it helps us understand their characters more thoroughly: Prospero is power-obssessed, Ferdiand/Miranda are hopeless romantics, etc.