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Francis Coppola’s movie Apocalypse Now was inspired by the world famous Joseph Conrad novel Heart of Darkness. A comparison and contrast can be made between the two. Both have similar themes but entirely different settings. Heart of Darkness takes place on the Congo River in the Heart of Africa, while Apocalypse Now is set in Vietnam.
"Heart of Darkness , which follows closely the actual events of Conrad's Congo journey, tells of the narrator's fascination by a mysterious white man, Kurtz, who, by his eloquence and hypnotic personality, dominates the brutal tribesmen around him. Full of contempt for the greedy traders who exploit the natives, the narrator cannot deny the power of this figure of evil who calls forth from him something approaching reluctant loyalty."
The main characters in both have the same general personalities but have different names. Of course, Kurtz is Kurtz, Willard parallels Marlow, and the American photojournalist corresponds to the Russian Harlequin. Willard is a lieutenant for the US Army and Marlow is a captain of a steamboat of an ivory company. The first images of Willard and Marlow differ to some degree. The movie begins with Willard lying in an apartment room lost from reality with the song ‘The End’ playing by The Doors. He is haunted by his earlier deeds and he is getting very drunk. Willard smashes the mirror while fighting himself and cuts his hand. Marlow is portrayed as a wanderer of the sea. The narrator described him to somewhat of a hero. Their mission is to find Kurtz and take him down at all costs. In both stories Kurtz is a psychotic rebel, worshipped as a god, who threatens the stability of his original unit, but in one it is an ivory trading company and in the other it is the US Army. Kurtz, who had begun his assignment a man of great idealism and the highest morals, had become strangely savage. Tribes of natives worship the man who lives in a hut surrounded by fence posts topped with recently acquired human skulls.
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