This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

A Comparison Of The Power Of Will In Heart Of Darkness And Apocalypse Now

1925 words - 8 pages

The Power of Will in Heart of Darkness and Apocalypse Now

     The story of Heart of Darkness was adapted to film after many failed attempts. (Hearts of Darkness, Coppala E.). Finally, director Francis Coppala collaborated with his friend John Milius on writing a screen play for Conrad's masterpiece. The two came up with Apocalypse Now, utilizing a more modern setting than the original story which was based in imperialistic Europe. The modern setting was that of the Vietnam war. Apocalypse Now focuses on the insanity of a decorated military colonial. "Kurtz intended to enlighten the natives, but instead he circums to the primal temptations of the jungle and goes insane." (Hearts of Darkness, Coppala E.)


The fiction of Joseph Conrad, as seen in Heart of Darkness, represents the teachings of the German philosopher and idealist Arthur Schopenhauer. Schopenhauer thought of the world as having two distinct entities, both of which are parts of the whole [world]. First, there is the world of representation or appearance. This is the phenomenal world which is made of tangible objects. For Schopenhauer the second entity being the thing-in-itself is will, and is the cause of everything. {Frost}. "The phenomenal world [world of representation] is merely an image; it mirrors the will, the real world." (Sahakian). Schopenhauer, being of pessimistic views, argued will to be a force that both "creates all and destroys all in its insatiable demand for " 'More!' [More of what it does not know it only knows that it wants more.]" (Palmer). All human actions are a result of will. As seen through the character of Kurtz, the world of will manifestates suffering, evil, and insanity into the world of perception.


There are many examples of suffering in society throughout all of history. In the film Apocalypse Now, the Vietnam war was an image of this suffering and evil. Innocent people and families were slaughtered. Images of blood and death were seen everyday as common to soldiers as smiles are to civilians. The ivory trade in imperialistic Europe, as seen in Heart of Darkness, is another example of suffering and man's evil nature. Through man's inhumanity to the elephants in hunting them and slaughtering them for their tusks, to in turn trade for the necessities of life such as food, water, and shelter. Both of these show man's will to live and survive, be it in battle or in everyday life. Willard's [in the book this character is named Marlow and in the film his name is Willard, I will refer to him as Willard] mission to "terminate [Kurtz] with extreme prejudice" (Apocalypse Now), is one that induces suffering and is just as unjust or inhumane as the previous examples.


Society as people see it is a mirror reflecting will, "Everything in the phenomenal world is merely the manifestation of this perverse will, or, as he [Schopenhauer] called it, an " 'objectification of the will [that is to say, the will passed through the...

Find Another Essay On A Comparison of the Power of Will in Heart of Darkness and Apocalypse Now

Comparing Heart of Darkness and Apocalypse Now

4316 words - 17 pages Parallels in Heart of Darkness and Apocalypse Now         In the interpretation and comparison of Heart of Darkness and Apocalypse Now there begins to unfold a list of similarities that can be linked to Arturian legend, particularly the quest of the grail. Marlow, or Willard can be viewed as the knight who has been sent on a mythic quest, the specific task being the recovery or assassination of Kurtz, the mythic god-man linked to the

Transformation in Heart of Darkness and Apocalypse Now

1711 words - 7 pages Transformation in Heart of Darkness and Apocalypse Now        Since Francis Ford Coppola’s  Apocalypse Now was based on Joseph Conrad's novel, Heart of Darkness, it is possible to draw many parallels between the two works. Both can be interpreted as metaphors for a journey through the inner self, and each has its own particular message to convey. In many ways they also appear to have similarities to Arthurian Legend, in particular the

Savagery in Heart of Darkness and Apocalypse Now

881 words - 4 pages Savagery in Heart of Darkness and Apocalypse Now   Scientists of the nineteenth century speculated that humans were on an evolutionary scale that ran from savage to civilized.  The Europeans were considered to be at the highest point yet achieved by humanity -- the civilized.   Peoples and races not yet encountered by the Europeans were placed  further down the list, and were referred to as savages.&nbsp

Racism in "Heart of Darkness" and "Apocalypse Now"

643 words - 3 pages The book "Heart of Darkness" and the movie "Apocalypse Now" are two works dealing with deep issues of evil. (Beyond imperialism, because the evil of imperialism has a root. For example, crack the nut) They refer places boiling down to a discussion of racism. The Thames River as in any mythology is a source of life. At the end, Marlow comes upon Kurtz's Intended and said, "An object of the fecund". Also, these two works deal with how a man is

Apocalypse Now that mirrored Heart of Darkness: Novel Comparison

770 words - 4 pages Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now portrays the brutality of the Vietnam War and American’s perspective from therein. Coppola successfully produced this film parallel to Joseph Conrad’s 1899 novella, Heart of Darkness. Both portray the effects of imperialism on a native land with respect to the imperialists’ viewpoint. The scene of Apocalypse Now that mirrored Heart of Darkness with the most creative license, on the behalf of Coppola, is

Appropriation: Heart of Darkness- Apocalypse Now

1943 words - 8 pages give a sound overall effect. It is the attention to detail that makes "Apocalypse Now" an effective appropriation and film in general as it is. The amazing camera work and use of symbolic images, gestures, actions and phrases say more than hours of dialogue and the direction of the acting is perfect."Heart of Darkness", is a brilliant novella on its own, but when viewed in conjunction with "Apocalypse Now", an even more rich and detailed tapestry emerges from the darkness. Let the analysis fade away like old, yellow newsprint. In its place will stand a triumph of literature and film.

Heart of Darkness vs. Apocalypse Now

924 words - 4 pages In Heart of Darkness and Apocalypse Now, both Joseph Conrad and Francis Ford Coppola create similar statements through their creations as they both centralize their views upon the effects of environmental changes that affect the human condition. The film Apocalypse Now vaguely reflects a similar message pursued by Conrad’s novella, due to the difference in time period, place setting, and circumstances in which the film was created

Heart of Darkness Apocalypse Now Analysis

1272 words - 6 pages Imperialism is the act of one country overtaking another country. Often, the motive behind this is for resources, as portrayed in Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness. Other times, a country may want to expand their territories, or force their beliefs and customs on another land. This is seen in Francis Ford Coppola's Apocalypse Now. In Apocalypse Now, protagonist Jerry Willard is sent on a confidential mission during the Vietnam War. While

Heart of Darkness vs. Apocalypse Now

982 words - 4 pages Throughout the course of the novel and the movie, we see many similarities and differences in the way the way the themes and messages are represented. Conrad must use wonderful imagery, the “lighting and setting” of a scene, in Heart of Darkness to convey his meaning to the reader. Coppola relies solely on what you see happening in Apocalypse Now and must therefore carefully choose the lighting and setting of a scene to convey a similar meaning

Heart of Darkness/Apocalypse Now One Pager

769 words - 4 pages While there are differences between Francis Ford Coppola’s film, Apocalypse Now!, and Joseph Conrad novel, The Heart of Darkness, Kurtz and his influence on the main character remain very similar. Both the movie and novel depict a protagonist’s struggle to travel upstream in a ship in search of a man named Kurtz. While doing so, Marlow (The Heart of Darkness)/Willard (Apocalypse Now!) become progressively fascinated with Kurtz. Kurtz is claimed

Heart of Darkness vs. Apocalypse Now!

986 words - 4 pages Based on Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness written in the late- Victorian era, Apocalypse Now! gives a modern interpretation of the novella. Francis Ford Coppola’s film takes place in Vietnam War where he examines America’s foreign policies in the 1960’s. Conrad, on the other hand, recreates the effects of British colonialism in Africa. Both protagonists, Willard from Apocalypse Now! and Marlow from Heart of Darkness, travel upstream along the

Similar Essays

Setting Comparison In Heart Of Darkness And Apocalypse Now

1625 words - 7 pages river into the mystery of an unknown earth! . . . The dreams of men, the seed of commonwealths, the germs of empires.” In Heart of Darkness, Europeans are invading Africa and stealing all their resources as well as making the natives their slaves. In the movie Apocalypse Now, America is trying to overthrow communism in Vietnam. Both these stories do an effective job of illustrating the negative effects of imperialism. The stories are a very

Elements Of Darkness In Apocalypse Now And Heart Of Darkness

1284 words - 5 pages the film and the book but each tells the story in a different and unique way.      The basic plots of "Apocalypse Now" and "Heart of Darkness" are very similar. Both films have a main character that makes a journey down a long and winding river to find a man name Kurtz. In the film the protagonist is a Special Forces captain named Willard, in the book he is called Marlow. The film seems to have a more direct plot as Willard is sent by his

"Heart Of Darkness" And "Apocalypse Now"

1372 words - 5 pages The Heart of Darkness collides with Apocalypse NowFrancis Ford Coppola 1979 film Apocalypse Now is based on Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness. Conrad's Heart of Darkness focuses on the ivory trade taking place in Africa, while Apocalypse Now takes place during the Vietnam War. The main character in both the film and story is Kurtz. Kurtz refers to "the horror" in both the film and story, in both Kurtz sees a horror in the people around him, and

Apocalypse Now And Heart Of Darkness

1546 words - 6 pages The idea of intertextuality can be seen heavily in Apocalypse Now as it based on the story and ideals within Heart of Darkness. The characters of Apocalypse Now are direct references to characters in the novella, and through their actions and ideals, serve nearly the same role. The first parallel we see between characters is that of Willard and Marlow. In the opening scene of the movie, Willard is complaining about wanting a mission and