Heart Of Darkness By Joseph Conrad And The Film Apocalypse Now

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Dark, suspenseful, and altogether brutal is what describes “Heart of Darkness” by Joseph Conrad and the film adaption Apocalypse Now by Francis Ford Coppola. A short novella published in 1899, “Heart of Darkness” centers on the journey taken by the narrator Marlow up the Congo River with a Belgian trading company. Upriver he encounters the mysterious ivory trader, Kurtz and is brought face to face with corruption and despair. Set in the Vietnam War, the film Apocalypse Now follows the central character, U.S. Army special operations officer Captain Benjamin L. Willard, of MACV-SOG, on a mission to kill the radical and seemingly psychotic U.S. Army Special Forces Colonel Walter E. Kurtz. Coppola draws on Conrad’s characters in order to create Captain Willard and Colonel Kurtz, but in adapting these dynamic characters he changes the internal and external forces both main characters endure. Coppola creates interesting parallels between Willard and Marlow; Marlow’s voyage downriver to the heart of Africa and Willard’s mission on the Nung River in Vietnam. Both men are on journey’s to the darkest of places: journey into “self”, and the discoveries to be made there. Both are about men confronting fears of failure, insanity, death, and cultural corruption. However, both are also are drastically different at times. Ronald Bogue’s article “The Heartless Darkness in Apocalypse Now” provides a wonderful intake on commonalties and differences in the two works. He notes that “by
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