The Deep Sense of Dramatic Irony Conrad Through the Entire Book

41000 The dialogue Conrad writes between Marlow and this woman sheds light on the characters of Marlow and Kurtz through the medium of a third perspective. Through their conversation, the reader gains insight into the two men’s basic characters and some hints about how to interpret the story. Although it’s easy to overlook, especially given the dramatic action of the rest of the story, the repetition in this two-page dialogue provides the reader with some clues to help interpret the story’s meaning. This scene demands attention through its use of repetition, which is also what gives the scene its dramatic impact. This technique is brought into play when the Intended begs Marlow to repeat Kurtz’s dying words. Almost every word she uses in the sentence is repeated as she says, “I want – I want – something-something – to – to live with” (123). The repetition slows down the pace of the narrative and forces the reader to pay closer attention to what is being said. It also demonstrates the lady’s desire to slow down time, perhaps even freeze it to a time when she could pretend Kurtz was still alive. Marlow’s strong desire to overcome the truth reveals his own internal weaknesses and inability to reject the soul-changing knowledge he’s gained. The only two words in this statement that are not repeated are the final two – "live with." This has the strange effect of making them stand out in a way that repetition typically does to the repeated word. It also focuses attention on the woman’s still-fresh grief over the loss of Kurtz and the emptiness of her life without the promise of marriage in the future.