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Setting Comparison In Heart Of Darkness And Apocalypse Now

1625 words - 7 pages

“Under an overcast sky — seemed to lead into the heart of an immense darkness.” This is the last line of the book Heart of Darkness and it summed up the setting and tone of the book. Apocalypse Now is an epic war film made in 1979 set in Vietnam directed by Francis Ford Coppola. It is based on the book Heart of Darkness. The settings of both the book and the movie are very different; they take place in completely different places. However, their effects are very similar to each other and shown in a variety of ways: in character development, cultural aspects, as well as thematically.
In similar ways the setting shaped the main characters into who they are. The character Marlow in Heart of Darkness is similar to Willard in the movie. Marlow tells the story in the Heart of Darkness. He is a sailor trying to find the mysterious Kurtz, and he gradually becomes more and more obsessive of him as the plot progresses. The movie is in more or less the same way. Willard is a soldier on a mission to exterminate Colonel Kurtz. However, as he gradually obtains more and more information on him, his opinions start to change about him. Marlow and Willard are both trying to meet Kurtz in one way or another, and have developed similar personalities. They are both displayed in a positive viewpoint, being the main protagonists of the book and movie, respectively. They also develop similar character qualities: tough, courageous, down to earth, and independent. Their characters are very likeable; as a reader/viewer, most opinions are based off their perspective (point of view). However, despite these similarities, the director chose to change Willard slightly. For example, a movie is much shorter than a book so character development is limited. As a result, Willard does not have as deep psychological and philosophical insights as Marlow. In the movie, Willard kills Kurtz himself — yet he is displayed in a better light than the Kurtz in the book, who died from sickness. Kurtz in the book is more narrow minded, and more inhumane, caring solely for the ivory he is acquiring from Africa. This causes him to go mad. However in the movie, Kurtz does not care about ivory as much as in the book. However, they both want extreme power, and this was the major way Kurtz had been displayed in the movie. Marlow and Willard are both hunting for Kurtz, but there’s more than meets the eye. In a way, they are searching for the “darkness” or evil of humanity, and how it affects humanity as a whole.
On the topic of evil, it often breaks out during times of isolation from one’s culture and the setting displays this. Both movie and book uses political, military, or economic domination over another, also known as imperialism. The impact of imperialism is both a dominant theme. The movie Apocalypse Now supports this with a quote from Heart of Darkness saying, “Hunters for gold or pursuers of fame, they all had gone out on that stream, bearing the sword, and...

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