Searching For Meaning In Apocalypse Now

1426 words - 6 pages

Searching For Meaning in Apocalypse Now

Francis Ford Coppola's film Apocalypse Now takes the audience into a tense and mystical journey through the Vietnam War. This long and agonizing journey is seen through the eyes of Captain Willard played by Martin Sheen. Sheen. Captain Willard is assigned to a mission that relies on him to assassinate Colonel Kurtz, who is played by Marlon Brando. Although Apocalypse Now is an examination of the many terrors of society that are connected to the Vietnam War, Coppola plays much of his film off Joseph Conrad's novel The Heart of Darkness. Conrad's story focuses on Captain Marlow who is parallel to Willard and the Colonel Kurtz possesses many of the same characteristics in both works. In both works, the Captain is to find the Colonel, but Coppola makes a very significant change in his film. This significant change is the transition of Captain Marlow assigned to find Colonel Kurtz in the Congo, to Captain Willard assigned to assassinate Colonel Kurtz in Cambodia. The fact that Willard has now become an assassin of Kurtz is very important in Coppola's over all point. It especially is important for the last ten minutes of the movie when Willard actually kills Kurtz. The final scenes of the film consist of Kurtz' reading of the poem "The Hollow Men" and the interplay of Willard killing Kurtz while the Cambodian Natives kill a water buffalo in a ritualistic setting. These changes and departures of the ending of Heart of Darkness are made so Coppola can make his point about the Vietnam War and society. The point being that the Vietnam War was completely meaningless and a lost cause among several others. However, as will be shown, these points come in conflict with eachother and are difficult to put together into one main theme..

As Captain Willard is being kept at Kurtz's compound in a cell, he has the chance of hearing Kurtz recite a very significant poem, "The Hollow Men" by T.S. Elliot. Coppola uses this poem to share his feelings of how meaningless the Vietnam War, and this film is very much a protest against the Vietnam War. Kurtz begins by reciting the beginning of the poem as "We are the hollow men. We are the stuffed men. Leaning together, Headpiece filled with straw." Of course the beginning of the poem explains how men are full in their heads, but it is of a meaningless substance as compared to straw. The "straw" in the man's head could be interpreted as the lies of the Vietnam war, and it is also lies that Kurtz hates the most. Coppola is making a huge statement here about the war. American soldiers and part of the country itself,(those being in favor of the Vietnam War), are the "hollow men." They went to Vietnam thinking they were going to fight against Communism and thought they could win the war, but the war was filled with lies in the way the government organized it, and because it was filled with such lies, it was a meaningless war.

The first twelve lines of the poem then concludes...

Find Another Essay On Searching For Meaning in Apocalypse Now

Savagery in Heart of Darkness and Apocalypse Now

881 words - 4 pages smell of napalm was what brought the reality to the reader.                 Heart of Darkness and Apocalypse Now are put together to create an amazing understanding of the real savagery of man and the true definition of civility for the reader and viewer.  Apocalypse Now was set in the jungle amongst the animals and the savages.  Yet it is the soldiers who were

Racism in "Heart of Darkness" and "Apocalypse Now".

643 words - 3 pages The book "Heart of Darkness" and the movie "Apocalypse Now" are two works dealing with deep issues of evil. (Beyond imperialism, because the evil of imperialism has a root. For example, crack the nut) They refer places boiling down to a discussion of racism. The Thames River as in any mythology is a source of life. At the end, Marlow comes upon Kurtz's Intended and said, "An object of the fecund". Also, these two works deal with how a man is

The Hero’s Journey in Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now

502 words - 2 pages The Hero’s Journey in Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now The hero’s journey in Francis Ford Coppola’s “Apocalypse Now” begins in the known natural world. The hero in Francis Ford Coppola’s masterpiece is Captain Willard. A call to adventure arouses when Willard is sent for to report to the general in command to receive his mission. Willard is informed of a renegade Colonel by the name of Kurtz, who has assembled his own followers and

A Comparison of the Power of Will in Heart of Darkness and Apocalypse Now

1925 words - 8 pages The Power of Will in Heart of Darkness and Apocalypse Now        The story of Heart of Darkness was adapted to film after many failed attempts. (Hearts of Darkness, Coppala E.). Finally, director Francis Coppala collaborated with his friend John Milius on writing a screen play for Conrad's masterpiece. The two came up with Apocalypse Now, utilizing a more modern setting than the original story which was based in imperialistic Europe. The

Discuss the film Apocalypse now in terms of the memory it creates of the Vietnam War?

1103 words - 4 pages Using the Sturken reading for context, discuss the film Apocalypse now in terms of the memory it creates of the Vietnam War?The Vietnam War has been unanimously described as the “Television War” and Francis Coppola’s movie Apocalypse Now immediately plays with this controversial relationship. In one of its opening battle scenes Martin Sheen, who plays Captain Willard enters the devastation of the battlefield, grenades explode near

War on the Human Spirit in Francis Ford Coppola’s Movie, Apocalypse Now

2116 words - 8 pages War on the Human Spirit in Apocalypse Now        Although Apocalypse Now is an extremely formalistic film from Francis Ford Coppola, he was quoted saying, "It's not about Vietnam, it was Vietnam!" He took quite a bit of time researching the war finding out what life was like for one taking part in the war. It is possible that any man, American or Vietnamese, may have been placed under the extreme psychological conditions of Captain

From Civilization to Madness: Exploration of the Effects of Imperialism in Conrad's Heart of Darkness and Coppola's Apocalypse Now

810 words - 4 pages The novella Heart of Darkness written by Joseph Conrad and the film Apocalypse Now, inspired by Conrad's novella, directed by Francis Coppola both involve the departure from civilization into a world of unknown. The protagonists of the stories, Marlow and Willard respectively, embark on a mission to search for Kurtz, a man who is portrayed as an evil genius in both texts. The majority of the plot unravels on the river, as the protagonist travel

Search for Meaning in James Joyce's Dubliners

2437 words - 10 pages betrayals: "He had often said to me: I am not long for this world, and I had thought his words idle. Now I knew they were true." (Joyce 9) This opening passage is crucial in its implications, which pull against the story's overarching theme of the impossibility of "capturing some meaning or truth about 'the real'" through words, and by extension, literature. For in the boy's invocation of the priest's statement we are presented with a quasi-religious

Finding Meaning in For Color Girls

1572 words - 6 pages Eaglestone, 2009, intrinsic analysis is a look into the text for meaning and understanding, assuming it has no connection, whatsoever, to the outside world. “Style is said to be the way one writes as opposed to what one writes about and is that voice that your readers hear when they read your work” (Wiehardt, n.d). The text uses mostly colors, poems and songs to deliver its messages. The main characters in the movie are each represented with a

The Idea of Searching Depicted in the Poems ‘For Once, Then, Something’ and ‘The Glory’

963 words - 4 pages Both Robert Frost and Edward Thomas use the idea of searching as a main theme in their poems and this is shown in both ‘For Once, then, Something’ and ‘The Glory’. In Frost’s poem, the main subject is about Frost or the narrator of the poem, looking down into a well, while others taunt him. He looks into the well, and sees his own reflection in the water below, but hopes to find something beyond his reflection, something, anything that could

Invisible Man Essay: Searching for Black Identity in a White World

1237 words - 5 pages Invisible Man: Searching for Black Identity in a White World         Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man was published at a time when America was racially divided.  The novel presents the theme of the lack of black identity – a theme supported by the fact that the protagonist, Invisible Man, has no name.  The reader knows the names of Dr. Bledsoe, Ras-the-Exhorter, Brother Jack and others - but the reader does not know the name of the main

Similar Essays

Searching For Meaning In Virginia Woolf's Between The Acts

3788 words - 15 pages Searching For Meaning in Virginia Woolf's Between the Acts I wanted to examine the states at the limits of language; The moments where language breaks up...I wanted to examine the language which manifests these states of instability because in ordinary communication--which is organized, civilized--we repress these states of incandescence. Creativity as well as suffering comprises these moments of instability, where language, or the signs of

Don Quixote – Losing Sanity While Searching For Meaning

1168 words - 5 pages Don Quixote – Losing Sanity While Searching for Meaning Readers of Cervantes’ Don Quixote come away wanting one question answered: Is Don Quixote sane? The following is a detailed account of Quixote’s visit with a psychiatrist upon his return to his village. This incident was apparently not recorded in the original novel for fear that Quixote’s reputation might be tarnished. Documentation of his visit was recently recovered by researchers

Transformation In Heart Of Darkness And Apocalypse Now

1711 words - 7 pages dynamic relationship between  protagonist and antagonist forces in the constant struggle for peace or power. These struggles are very similar to those encountered in the world today and continue to be important sources of meaning, reflection and inspiration. The most significant plot difference in Apocalypse Now seems to be that the Willard is being sent down the river, not to bring back Kurtz, but to kill him. In the book, Marlow is disgusted by

Elements Of Darkness In Apocalypse Now And Heart Of Darkness

1284 words - 5 pages by the madness of the Vietnam War and how even to look for a purpose in it all; is itself quite mad.      It was no accident that a documentary was made on Francis Ford Coppola's 1979 film, "Apocalypse Now" entitled "Hearts of Darkness- A Filmmaker's Apocalypse" since the production of the film was something of a horrific journey for those involved. Throughout the production, the cast and crew were plagued by some serious problems. A typhoon