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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 voyaging up the river, Willard notices the excessive tactics used by the Americans. America advertised that they went to war with Vietnam to prevent the spread of communism. However, it is obvious that throughout most imperialistic literature the group colonizing natives are the true savages. Considering that this theme is frequent among imperialistic writing, one may assume that imperialism is a violent, unnecessary concept used by brutes with no sense of open-mindedness. One may deduce that America may have had an ulterior motive in attempting to take over Vietnam. In Conrad's Heart of Darkness, imperialism is viewed by Marlow as aggressive and insincere. Marlow often notes that the so-called savages show more restraint than the "civilized" men. In Conrad's novel, the genuine reasoning for pillaging African villages is to rob the land of it's most precious resource, ivory. Though, these pieces are contrasting in style, time period, and reasoning; the two works compliment each other and show the horrors of imperialism through the eyes of someone witnessing it.
The plots of these two works are parallel. In Apocalypse Now, Willard, like Marlow, is sent on a mission. However, he is sent to kill Col. Kurtz, whereas Marlow is asked to bring him back with him. Apocalypse Now presents Kurtz as a psychotic murderer who must be "[terminated] with extreme prejudice" (Coppola). However, in Heart of Darkness, Kurtz is admired by all. The opinions of Kurtz from each work are polar opposites. This is because in Heart of Darkness, Kurtz's unsound methods are overlooked due to his ability to produce more revenue than any other man. Some argue that this is a false statement because Conrad never admits to others knowing of Kurtz's murderous tactics; however, the Europeans' only concern is bringing in money through ivory.Therefore, that even if the people knew of Kurtz's actions, they would dismiss it for the sake of revenue. This portrays the naivety of people empowered by greed. In Heart of Darkness, Marlow is an adventurous river boat captain. His mission, unlike that of Willard, is to go up river to get more supplies. His journey begins when he hears of Kurtz. Everyone around him is building Kurtz up, so much so that Marlow's interest in the subject increases every time Kurtz's name is mentioned. This trait, curiosity, is also found in Willard. While reading Kurtz's files, Willard longs to meet Kurtz. He becomes more intrigued by every paper he reads. This similarity shared by both characters is a vital portion of the works....

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