Comparing Joseph Conrad’s novel “Heart of Darkness” and Francis Ford Coppola’s film “Apocalypse Now”

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The focus of this Comparative Essay is to evaluate the similarities between Joseph Conrad’s novel “Heart of Darkness” and Francis Ford Coppola’s film “Apocalypse Now.” Resemblances in both stories are prominent when reading the novel or watching the film. The resemblance which will be used in this essay will be the similarities between the protagonists in both stories, Charlie Marlow and Captain Benjamin L. Willard. Both men are in search of two other individuals that go by the same name, Kurtz. Whether it is Captain Willard or Charlie Marlow, both characters have many similarities which are notable when watching the film and reading the novel. Charlie Marlow (Heart of Darkness) is in search of Mr. Kurtz who is a very powerful man; Marlow is compelled to travel to the interior of the Belgian Congo in search of Kurtz who is the chief of the inner station. Captain Willard (Apocalypse Now) is also in the search of another man named Kurtz who he is sent to kill. Both men grow to have fascinations the Kurtz’ as they struggle through ordeals to reach them. During their voyages the audience notices that both men are physically and emotionally dominant over other supporting characters in the stories and that they dislike dishonesty.

Captain Willard and Charlie Marlow are both in search of a man named Kurtz. For both Willard and Marlow their intentions to find the two Kurtz’ are different. Yet in both stories finding the Kurtz’ evolve into pivotal obligations for both men and they even begin to idolize and obsess over them. In “Heart of Darkness” Marlow is given the task to go and see Mr. Kurtz who is the chief of the Inner Station by the chief of the Outer Station who informs Marlow that when he sees Mr. Kurtz, Marlow’s task is to not...

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... most evident in the scene with the routine check where the men find a puppy as opposed to weaponry.

Together, Captain Willard and Charlie Marlow have several resemblances which are apparent when analyzing the motion picture and the novel. In both stories finding the Kurtz’ evolve into pivotal obligations for both men and they even begin to idolize and obsess over them, They are also in control of their crew and what is seen in the film or the narrated in the novel is through the eyes and the experiences of both protagonists, and that they as well detest the thought of hypocrisy and deceit.


 Apocalypse Now. Dir. Francis Ford Coppola. Perf. Marlon Brando, Martin Sheen, Robert Duvall, and Harrison Ford. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1979.

 Conrad, Joseph. Heart of Darkness and the Secret Sharer. United States of America. Bantam Books. 1902.

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