Heart of Darkness Parallels

10 October 2016

Apocalypse Now is a movie directed by Francis Coppola came out in 1979. It is set at the height of the Vietnam War. U. S. Army Captain Willard is sent on a top secret mission into the jungles of Cambodia. His mission is to seek out and destroy Colonel Kurtz, who is believed to have gone completely insane. The novel Heart of Darkness and the movie Apocalypse Now have many parallels. Both works follow the same story line but presented in completely different contexts. Even though Apocalypse Now is based upon the book, there are still many differences in themes, characters, and events.

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The largest of these differences is the setting and time of the two works. While watching Apocalypse Now the viewer is able to observe many scenes that are similar with the novel Heart of Darkness. One of the most apparent of these scenes is when the natives attack the men on the boats. After the attack Coppola and Conrad both use fog to show the uncertainty the characters have in regards to completing their tasks. The men in the novel begin to randomly shoot into the jungle once the attack begins. They are unable to see their attackers so they are shooting completely blind.

After the attack is over a large cloud of smoke from the men’s guns floating in front of the boat. Marlow then continues to lead the men of the boat blindly up the Congo River. In Apocalypse Now after the attack by the natives, a fog also surrounds the boat. In the movie the fog is used to represents Willard’s thoughts. Captain Willard is not sure whether what he is doing is worthwhile. He has no idea what he is getting himself into; one of his men has just died without even knowing the purpose of his mission. The fog in both stories is used to represent the leader’s uncertainty of their missions.

In both Apocalypse Now and Heart of Darkness madness is represented during the attack. In the novel the Helmsman goes crazy and in the novel Chief is the character that succumbs to madness. In Heart of Darkness when the natives attack the boat the Helmsman begins to go crazy, jumping up and down going absolutely mad during the attack, acting like a complete animal. He begins shaking his empty rifle and screaming at the men on the shore he is unable to see. In the movie, Chief begins to go mad when he realizes that not even Willard knows the location of where they are headed.

When the boat is to be attacked by the natives with harmless arrows the Chief goes absolutely absurd. Screaming at the shores completely exposing himself to his attackers. A huge mistake because as soon as Chief exposes himself a spear that turns out to be deadly hits him. There are many parallels between the novel Heart of Darkness and the movie Apocalypse Now. Throughout the entire movie there are scenes that are nearly identical to the novel. During the attack seen parallels with fog and madness can be seen in both Apocalypse Now and Heart of Darkness.

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