A Comparison of Heart of Darkness and Apocalypse Now
Joseph Conrad's epic novel, Heart of Darkness, depicts the discrepancy between ideals and realities against the "sinister backcloth" of the complete incomprehensibility of the wild jungle.It is an exposé of the corruptness and absurdity of the progress and enlightenment of nineteenth century Europe, and ultimately, of man himself.It tells the story of Marlow, who takes a journey down the Congo River into the core of the jungle of Africa, searching for this mysterious "genius" named Kurtz.The journey confronts him with the "rudimentary savagery" and "incomprehensibility" of mankind.Three quarters of a century later, during the turmoil of the Vietnam War, a young film maker by the name of Francis Ford Copola, made a movie that was parallel to the book Heart of Darkness, essentially a modern version of it.He set it against the backdrop of the ever controversial Vietnam War, and entitled it "Apocalypse Now."The movie tells of a soldier, Captain Willard, traveling down!
a river into the "[hell] hole of the Earth," the jungles of Vietnam, in search of a "mad man" named Kurtz.Along the way he is confronted by the absurdity, brutality, meaninglessness, and inconceivable nature of mankind.In the end, both Marlow and Willard are faced with the "choice of two nightmares:" that of banal evil or that of insane evil.The two works, each considered classics in their own medium, are most visibly comparable through the three parallels: that of the United States Army and the company, that of the people that work and fight for these institutions, and that of the main characters of each story, Marlow and Willard and Kurtz and Kurtz.
The two essential institutions in the book and the movie are the company and the United States Army.The U.S. Army and the men that work for it in the movie…