Comparing Joseph Conrad’s Novel “Heart Of Darkness” And Francis Ford Coppola’s Film “Apocalypse Now”

1281 words - 5 pages

The focus of this Comparative Essay is to evaluate the similarities between Joseph Conrad’s novel “Heart of Darkness” and Francis Ford Coppola’s film “Apocalypse Now.” Resemblances in both stories are prominent when reading the novel or watching the film. The resemblance which will be used in this essay will be the similarities between the protagonists in both stories, Charlie Marlow and Captain Benjamin L. Willard. Both men are in search of two other individuals that go by the same name, Kurtz. Whether it is Captain Willard or Charlie Marlow, both characters have many similarities which are notable when watching the film and reading the novel. Charlie Marlow (Heart of Darkness) is in search of Mr. Kurtz who is a very powerful man; Marlow is compelled to travel to the interior of the Belgian Congo in search of Kurtz who is the chief of the inner station. Captain Willard (Apocalypse Now) is also in the search of another man named Kurtz who he is sent to kill. Both men grow to have fascinations the Kurtz’ as they struggle through ordeals to reach them. During their voyages the audience notices that both men are physically and emotionally dominant over other supporting characters in the stories and that they dislike dishonesty.

Captain Willard and Charlie Marlow are both in search of a man named Kurtz. For both Willard and Marlow their intentions to find the two Kurtz’ are different. Yet in both stories finding the Kurtz’ evolve into pivotal obligations for both men and they even begin to idolize and obsess over them. In “Heart of Darkness” Marlow is given the task to go and see Mr. Kurtz who is the chief of the Inner Station by the chief of the Outer Station who informs Marlow that when he sees Mr. Kurtz, Marlow’s task is to notify him that everything “is very satisfactory” (Conrad 36) at the outer station. Marlow’s task is to simply regurgitate a fragment of information from one man to another; however he becomes somewhat fixated with Kurtz as he begins to get to know him through the eyes of those who have met him. In “Apocalypse Now” Captain B.L Willard is on a top secret mission to eliminate Walter Kurtz, a Lieutenant Colonel in the Vietnam War in 1968 who is allegedly hiding in a remote Cambodian jungle. Willard also begins to idolize Kurtz as he reads the top secret letters he gets while on the boat; Willard begins to look at him like a human being and less like a target while reading the letters intercepted by the military. Willard learns about his family and his wife and he also gains recognisance and sees that Kurtz is some sort of prodigy and that there is more to him than an average man.

Both Marlow and Willard are leaders in their own right; they are the reasons why the characters in both stories travel down the two rivers, the Nung River (Apocalypse Now) and the Congo River (Heart of Darkness). They are also in control of their crew and what is seen in the film or narrated in the novel is through the eyes and the experiences of...

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