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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...

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