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Heart Of Darkness Vs. Apocalypse Now!

986 words - 4 pages

Based on Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness written in the late- Victorian era, Apocalypse Now! gives a modern interpretation of the novella. Francis Ford Coppola’s film takes place in Vietnam War where he examines America’s foreign policies in the 1960’s. Conrad, on the other hand, recreates the effects of British colonialism in Africa. Both protagonists, Willard from Apocalypse Now! and Marlow from Heart of Darkness, travel upstream along the massive trees that hug the banks on a mission to find Kurtz. As they travel further into the heart of darkness, they forget about the rules and regulations of society, and experience the absurdities of evil and savage nature of the jungle and war. The ...view middle of the document...

The houses and bricks were built and then abandoned because the natives traditionally built buildings out of clay and straw. Willard, contrariwise, is exposed the cruelties of war. In one scene in the film, the captain of Marlow’s boat orders one of his soldiers, the chef, to raid a Vietnamese fishing boat to search for weapons. Another soldier, only seventeen years old, becomes nervous and shoots all the fishermen dead except a woman. The captain insists in getting the wounded woman help, but is stopped when Willard shoots and kills the woman (Coppola). Moral degradation is evident in both Marlow and Willard and become numb towards the violence when they are forced to focus on survival.
Marlow and Willard’s mentality muddles as they go deeper and deeper into the heartland of Africa and Vietnam. They and their crew feel small, vulnerable, and exposed among the giant trees. Marlow and Willard’s leadership are both tested by the natives when they attack. They both misjudge and believe that the natives are benign and will not attack, and urge the crew to go on. However, their poor judgment leads to one of their crew member’s death by the shooting arrows. In film, by the time Willard is finished with his business, only one crew member is alive. This demonstrates Marlow and Willard’s inexperience and increasing struggle to command the ship as their journey continues.
Throughout the journey, Marlow hears extraordinary rumors about Kurtz. Kurtz is not only a “genius,” but also a talented painter, prodigy and, most importantly, a man who is able to bring in the most amount of ivory to the Company. On the other hand, Willard gets a packet of classified information about the background of the major Kurtz. He finds out that Kurtz has both a son and wife, was first in his class, and was a highly decorated colonel. Unlike Marlow who doubts the rumors,...

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