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"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 eventually finds out that the horror is actually in him. In the novel the horror refers to Kurtz's tragedy of transforming into a greed-bound ruthless character whereas in the film the horror depicts the ruthless killing going on during the Vietnam War.Heart of Darkness is narrated by Marlow; Marlow becomes extremely fascinated with Kurtz, and begins to try and locate Kurtz. Captain Willard is the narrator in Apocalypse Now, who is given a mission to locate and kill Colonel Kurtz, who is said to be in Cambodia killing the Vietcong. Willard is told that Kurtz has gone insane and is no longer in the command of the military. Kurtz's operations are not to the liking of the military, thus they give Willard orders to assassinate him. Willard journeys up the Nung River to find Kurtz, and eventually finds and kills him. At his dying moment, Kurtz utters "The Horror! The Horror!"(394)Kurtz's authority in both Heart of Darkness and Apocalypse Now eventually causes him to become ruthless. Many tribes of natives adore Kurtz and obey his every command. Kurtz appears to have become a god of the people. As Marlow approaches Kurtz's place of refuge, described as the shack of the "universal genius" (359) by the natives. Dead bodies litter the area leaving the foul stench of death around his camp. Marlow hears rumors of Kurtz's unusual behavior of killing the Africans. The behavior fascinates him, especially when he sees it first hand: "and there it was black, dried, sunken, with closed eyelids- a head that seemed to sleep at the top of that pole, and with the shrunken dry lips showing a narrow white line of the teeth, was smiling too, smiling continuously at some endless and jocose dream of that eternal slumber" (384). The heads that Marlow sees are first hand evidence of Kurtz's unusual behavior. Heads are placed on sticks and displayed to greatly discourage any opposition. Kurtz is described as "an animated image of death carved out of old ivory" (385). In the movie as Captain Willard approaches Kurtz's home, we hear a slow beat, and we see a dead body hanging from a stick, with hundreds of Vietnamese watching as he approaches. An American civilian comes out and says "they think you've come to take him away", Captain Willard says "Who" and he responds "Kurtz, these are all his children". Kurtz has realized that there is truth in doing absolutely ruthless things to accomplish one's goal. In Conrad's novel Kurtz is driven by greed for ivory. Kurtz becomes quite ruthless ending up killing many Africans, although he didn't...

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