Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad

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In Heart of Darkness, what do the occupations of Marlow's friends on the ship suggest about important themes?

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Gretchen Mussey eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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The Accountant and The Lawyer are Marlow's friends, who listen to his story about his journey into the "heart of darkness." Despite the fact that their personal names are not given, their occupations relate to several important themes throughout the novella. The Lawyer's profession involves practicing law and presenting cases throughout the judicial system. Throughout the novella, the theme of justice is examined and portrayed by the Company's business ventures in the Congo. Conrad illustrates how justice is perverted and used as a means to exploit the indigenous population while simultaneously legitimizing the inhumane European practices. Laws and regulations are virtually nonexistent in the Congo, where individuals involved in the ivory trade brutally oppress and exploit the Natives.

The Accountant's occupation also relates to the prominent theme of money throughout the novella. The goal of Imperialism is to acquire and exploit foreign territories in order to attain wealth for the mother...

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