The Comparison of Conrad Josephs Heart of Darkness and Ford Coppola Apocalypse Now

The Comparison of Conrad Josephs Heart of Darkness and Ford Coppola Apocalypse NowBasing his film on the major themes and plot of Joseph Conrad’s "Heart of Darkness", director Ford Coppola’s "Apocalypse Now" depicts Captain Benjamin Willard’s (Special Operations officer) mission to kill a former US army Special Forces agent labeled a defector and declared mentally incapacitated, Walter Kurtz (Coppola). Conversely, Conrad’s literal piece depicts his main character Charles Marlow’s journey through Congo’s treacherous terrain and encounter with barbaric natives while heading towards the central station where the infamous Mr. Kurtz was stationed. Unlike in the film, Marlow harbored no ill intentions towards Kurtz (Willard set out to kill Kurtz). He chose to honor Kurtz by delivering his letters to their specific recipients (Conrad 55). Coppola based his film in Vietnam during the war era, which contrasted the novel’s setting. Conrad’s novel was set deep in the heart of Central Africa’s Congo. The contrast in the plot, main characters’ names and setting represent more obvious, overt differences between the novel and film.One can describe both Marlow and Willard as determined, focused individuals whereby unforeseen challenges did not deter them from their specific missions. The fact that they were both able to meet Kurtz attests to their extreme determination. For example, Marlow remained hopeful about his journey despite finding the ship assigned to him wrecked and in need of repairs, which were likely to take a long time whereas Willard persevered the volatile and brutal conditions present in Vietnam during the war (Coppola. Conrad 30). In addition, both characters held leadership positions. Marlow was the soon-to-be captain of the ship assigned to him by the Ivory Company whereas Willard served as a Captain in the US army Special Operations unit. However, Willard and Marlow had contrasting personalities. Willard was more brutal whereby he exhibited psychotic behaviors that were inhumane. for example, he brutally murdered Kurtz with a machete and departed from the gruesome scene unremorseful. Despite the fact that Willard was simply following orders, his choice of execution method and lack of sympathy indicated a heightened predisposition to engage in brutal, psychotic tendencies. On the other hand, Marlow was more compassionate, as he empathized with others. for example, he chose to lie about Kurtz’s last words when he delivered the letter to Kurtz’s widow who was distraught almost one year after her husband’s demise. In addition, he did not refuse to deliver Kurtz’s letters despite his disapproval of Kurtz’s lifestyle, which encompassed instilling fear among the barbaric native population who resorted to worshipping him.Coppola retains the name Kurtz, as used by Conrad to refer to his novel’s main antagonist character. Both the author and director of the novel and film respectively, depict Kurtz as a peculiar person with negative or questionable dispositions. For example, in the novel, the fence around Kurtz’s residence is made of skulls mounted on posts whereas, in the film, Willard’s order to kill Kurtz was based on the supposition that the latter was insane and a traitor. In addition, Kurtz’s character is symbolic for the negative effects of imperialism (film) and colonialism (novel). Afraid of the communist ideologies pervasive in Vietnam, the US used the war to try to spread their liberal, imperialist ideologies. Conversely, the scramble for natural resources such as ivory, which was abundant in Africa by European countries, exacerbated the spread of colonialism in the region. Kurtz represents the domineering nations’ greed for power and control regardless of the existence of sovereign native tribes, which they labeled as barbaric. The major contrast pertaining to Kurtz centered on his death. In the novel, Kurtz’s character succumbed to malaria whereas in the film he was murdered by Willard.In conclusion, the film loosely maintains the novel’s plot. however, the difference in setting contributes to the change in plot. Main characters in both the film and book share certain similarities. However, they also have various differences.Works Cited