Apocalypse Now and Heart of Darkness

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The idea of intertextuality can be seen heavily in Apocalypse Now as it based on the story and ideals within Heart of Darkness. The characters of Apocalypse Now are direct references to characters in the novella, and through their actions and ideals, serve nearly the same role. The first parallel we see between characters is that of Willard and Marlow. In the opening scene of the movie, Willard is complaining about wanting a mission and getting back into the war, stating “Every time I think I'm gonna wake up back in the jungle. When I was home after my first tour, it was worse. I'd wake up and there'd be nothing. I hardly said a word to my wife, until I said "yes" to a divorce. When I was here, I wanted to be there; when I was there, all I could think of was getting back into the jungle. I'm here a week now, waiting for a mission, getting softer; every minute I stay in this room, I get weaker, and every minute Charlie squats in the bush, he gets stronger. Each time I looked around, the walls moved in a little tighter.” (Apocalypse Now) Willard is being driven mad by his need to be involved in the war, to the point where it is affecting his home life. Simply being in his room waiting for a mission is making him become paranoid to an unhealthy extent in which he feels the need to become intoxicated and self destructive to cope. This obsession correlates with Marlow’s own obsession with work in Heart of Darkness. Like Willard, Marlow’s sanity also relies on his work. The first major break in his mental state we see is when he is unable to do work due to his steamer being damaged and not having the parts to repair it. Upon hearing the news that rivets necessary to repairing the steamer are on the way, the normal stoic Marlow bursts ... ... middle of paper ... ...e you. And suddenly he'll grab you, and he'll throw you in a corner, and he'll say "Do you know that 'if' is the middle word in life?’If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs and blaming it on you, if you can trust yourself when all men doubt you'..." – I mean, I'm no, I can't – I'm a little man, I'm a little man, he's, he's a great man” This speech is extremely similar to that of the one Marlow is greeted with, which shows how Apocalypse Now uses nearly the exact same device as Heart of Darkness to show Kurtz’s effect on people. Works Cited Apocalypse Now. Dir. Francis Ford Coppola. Pro. Francis Ford Coppola. American Zoetrope, August 15, 1979. Conrad, Joseph. Heart of Darkness. New York: Bantem Dell 2004 Comparing Heart of Darkness and Apocalypse Now." 123HelpMe.com. 16 Dec 2010 .
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