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

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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 modern setting was that of the Vietnam war. Apocalypse Now focuses on the insanity of a decorated military colonial. "Kurtz intended to enlighten the natives, but instead he circums to the primal temptations of the jungle and goes insane." (Hearts of Darkness, Coppala E.)

The fiction of
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Innocent people and families were slaughtered. Images of blood and death were seen everyday as common to soldiers as smiles are to civilians. The ivory trade in imperialistic Europe, as seen in Heart of Darkness, is another example of suffering and man's evil nature. Through man's inhumanity to the elephants in hunting them and slaughtering them for their tusks, to in turn trade for the necessities of life such as food, water, and shelter. Both of these show man's will to live and survive, be it in battle or in everyday life. Willard's [in the book this character is named Marlow and in the film his name is Willard, I will refer to him as Willard] mission to "terminate [Kurtz] with extreme prejudice" (Apocalypse Now), is one that induces suffering and is just as unjust or inhumane as the previous examples.

Society as people see it is a mirror reflecting will, "Everything in the phenomenal world is merely the manifestation of this perverse will, or, as he [Schopenhauer] called it, an " 'objectification of the will [that is to say, the will passed through the categories and the grid mark of space and time]" (Palmer). Man has made laws and morals as the foundations for rationality to protect the people from their will or primitive instincts. These instincts work much like nature does, unconsciously, and these instincts include sex and violence, but are not limited to these.

Kurtz journeyed out to the jungle
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