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. Conrad wrote his novella during British colonization, focusing upon imperialism. Coppola’s film similarly focused upon the barbaric nature of man, which demonstrates the insanity of the Vietnam War. In Heart of Darkness, Conrad centers his main focus upon the journey of Marlow, a sailor, who travels into the depth of the Congo River as captain to meet Kurtz, an ivory tradesman. Coppola’s film directs a similar connection to the central character, sharing the same journey of a man traveling into the depths of an unknown wilderness. In Apocalypse Now, Willard is assigned to travel the Nung River of Vietnam, locate Kurtz position, and terminate his command. Throughout Apocalypse Now, Coppola also portrays similar themes of imperialism and the corruption of man. In both works, Conrad and Coppola direct this corruption through the character of Kurtz. Upon meeting Kurtz, both central characters share similar actions during the scene, while also differing in the description of Kurtz character. Conrad and Coppola incorporate this scene, to highlight the effects of evil that are reflected through both physical attributes as well as mental. The manifestation of Kurtz’s character reflects similar attributes that display the tragedy of losing his identity as the jungle devours him.
In Heart of Darkness, Conrad introduces the character of Kurtz as he is being carried on a stretcher into a cabin. Conrad manipulates this scene, to incorporate Marlow’s observation of Kurtz’s worn figure, to symbolize the physical effects of Kurtz’s metal instability. Kurtz’s lack of restraint and hunger for ivory consumes not only his soul but drains all of his physical existence. Upon seeing him, Marlow states, “I could see the cage of his ribs all astir, the bones of his arm waving (126)”. Conrad focuses on the physical features of Kurtz to display the madness that has consumed him. However, though Kurtz’s body is deteriorating, Kurtz’s mind continues to thrive. Conrad shows this in Marlow’s shock of witnessing a flame of passion that remains in Kurtz’s eyes as he converses without signs of exhaustion (126). Conrad continues to describe Kurtz as a shadow composed of tranquility and satisfaction. Conrad’s incorporation of this detail signifies the evil and greed that consumes Kurtz and is reflected through his physique. However, the power of Kurtz’s presence is...

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