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comparative essay between heart of darkness and apocalypse now

The ties between Joseph Conrad's book, Heart of Darkness and Francis Coppola's movie, Apocalypse Now are unmistakable. Apocalypse Now's correctness infollowing the story line of the Heart of Darkness is amazing although the settings of eachstory are from completely different location and time periods. From the jungle of theCongo in Africa to the Nung river in Vietnam, Joseph Conrad's ideals are not lost. In boththe book and the movie, the ideas of good and evil, whiteness, darkness, and racism areclear. Also, characterization in both the novel and the movie are very similar. Both TheHeart of Darkness and Apocalypse Now examine the good and evil in human beings. In The Heart of Darkness, Marlow speaks of Fresleven who was killed in a fightwith some natives. The argument between Fresleven and the natives was over somechickens, and Fresleven felt he had been ripped off in the deal. Marlow describesFresleven as "the gentlest, quietest creature that ever walked on two legs."(p. 13Conrad) However, later in the same paragraph Marlow says,"he probably felt the needat last of asserting his self-respect in some way. Therefore he whacked the old niggermercilessly."(p. 13 Conrad) Soldiers in combat are forced to bring the evil withinthemselves out every time they go into battle. The scene in Apocalypse Now where Captain Willard first meets Lt. ColonelKilgore, shows the power at which combat has in bringing out the dark side in humans.The attitude the soldiers have towards their enemy in the scene shows how evil humanscan be. Kilgore demonstrates his dark side when he tosses the "death cards" on to thebodies of the dead Vietcong without showing any remorse over the death of fellowhumans. The Vietcong were his enemies, but they were no less human. Another exampleof the movie expressing good and evil is when General Corman says, "Because there's aconflict in every human heart between the rational and the irrational, between good andevil. The good d...

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