Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad

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What does the "company" in the Heart of Darkness symbolize?

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The company in this novel is the root of evil—it is the dark stain that corrupts the hearts of the men in the novel as well as ravaging the unspoiled lands of Africa. The company is greed and imperialism, which are historically two violent and overwhelming evils that overcame the world.

The company is the impetus for the majority of the action and violence in the novel, driving Marlow to travel to Africa to engage in the ivory trade. The company pushes men to go to the unspoiled continent to hunt and kill animals to acquire ivory as well as other precious resources.

While we see Marlow in his quest doing terrible things for greed, we realize that the company is far worse—punishing and destroying the continent, as well as these men's lives, for the sake of their financial gain. Kurtz dies a horrific death, and Marlow nearly perishes as well while on their voyage.

The villagers in the town are all uprooted by the men's efforts, and the company kills numerous creatures and spoils large...

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