32 year-old man who has "followed the sea." Marlow's story of his voyage up the Congo River constitutes almost all of Conrad's novel. He pilots the steamboat sent to relieve Kurtz and is shocked by what he sees the European traders have done to the natives.
an ivory trader for the Company. Kurtz works out of the Inner Station and is remarkably effective at acquiring ivory. A well-educated European, he is described as a "universal genius" and begins his work in the Congo as part of a virtuous mission. However, while in the jungle, he sets himself up as a god to the natives. By the time Marlow reaches him, he is emaciated and dying.
Working out of the Central Station, the Manager oversees the Company's activities in the Congo. The Manager is able to inspire uneasiness in others; Marlow later figures out that he was responsible for the wreck of his steamboat. The Manager fears that Kurtz is trying to steal his job.
A Russian freelance trader who meets Kurtz in the jungle. He admires Kurtz immensely, telling Marlow, "This man has enlarged my mind." Also known as "the harlequin"
Kurtz's African Mistress
Kurtz's native mistress. She is very protective of Kurtz and leads a chant on the bank of the river when Kurtz leaves the Inner Station. She dresses in bright colors.
Kurtz's Intended (fiance)
demure and mourning young woman; Marlow visits her after he returns to Europe and lies to her about her fiancée's last words.