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Heart of Darkness vs. Apocalypse Now Essay

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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...


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...cene, his barbaric nature portrays an intense power.
In both Heart of Darkness and Apocalypse Now, both authors develop the scene in order to highlight the evolution of Kurtz’s character. Each scene reflects similar themes of the animalistic nature brought out of man. Kurtz manifestation reflects the effects that temptations have upon us. In Heart of Darkness, the hunger for material wealth and the sacrifice of blood displays society’s imperial ideology. Conrad uses this scene to show the hidden evil within man, and creates a physical representation of the mental distortion caused by malicious acts. While Conrad indirectly voices the absurdity of war, Coppola uses Kurtz as an example of a soldier driven into insanity by war. Though Coppola fails to show the physical effect of insanity, the scene of darkness that engulfs him displays a similar effect.




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