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Human Nature In Heart Of Darkness And Apocalypse Now

1029 words - 5 pages

Human Nature in Heart of Darkness and Apocalypse Now

In Joseph Conrad's "Heart of Darkness" and Francis Ford Coppola's "Apocalypse Now" the reader learns more and more about human nature as Marlow, Captain Willard, go farther and farther up the river in search of Kurtz. An evil side lies within every man, but this evil remains repressed by society. When moving up the river and farther away from civilization, the evil side begins to break out. Whenever basically different cultures meet we are led to discover ourselves and can even drive us to perceived madness.
Both stories are about "Man's" journey finding himself, and confronting his fears of failure, insanity, culture and ...view middle of the document...

Similar events occur in Francis Coppola's "Apocalypse Now," Captain Willard pushes farther up the river where the solitude from society and the destruction of war tamper with human nature. During the opening scene, Willard is shown in despair, going from America to war and back was too much for him to handle. He moved back to Saigon hoping to find himself. However he does not know his own true self until he discovers Colonel Kurtz's true nature.
Throughout the movie, new characters are introduced showing differences in human nature due to the effects of war. For instance the helicopter commander no longer cares for human life anymore; he finds it all right to surf while his men are being killed. He is hardened by the war, meaning he shows no fear. Contrary to that the Chef lives in almost constant fear. With the river and surroundings becoming more and more uncivilized with every mile, he grows more and more afraid. Afraid for his life, afraid he should have joined the navy.
Most human beings or at least Americans believe that the most technologically advanced races are the best. Yet a patrol boat armed to the teeth can not do anything against a few villagers with spears and arrows. When the chief of the boat dies from a spear, Captain Willard's eyes are opened to the horror he finds himself trapped in. Just as Marlow's eyes were opened to the same horror when a similar type of uncivilized culture killed his engine man.
This lack of civilized culture is shown all the way up the river. Even the S.O. show that playboy put on for the troops showed the lust and desire that humans are capable of. War also brings out fear and anarchy. While at the bridge Captain Willard attempts to find the Commanding Officer of the outfit. When he asks one young man where the CO is, he gets the response "Aren't you him?" this free reign and lack of control is enough to strike terror...

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