Apocalypse Now And Heart Of Darkness
Placed in various time periods and settings, the novel Heart of Darkness,
written by Joseph Conrad, and the movie Apocalypse Now, produced and directed by

Francis Ford Coppola, both create the same mysterious journey with various
similarties and differences. The journey’s mystery lies in the scene; it is
one down a river by boat, deep in the jungle. The jungle is populated mainly
with wild animals and a few natives. The reason for the expedition is to search
for a sick man named Kurtz, who is followed by the natives and his men from
their previous missions. In Heart of Darkness, the journey to find Kurtz, who is
an ivory trader who has gone too deep into the jungles of Africa in search of
ivory, while in Apocalypse Now, Kurtz is a high-ranking officer in the military
who has disobeyed orders and is now fighting the Vietnam war in Cambodia with
his unit in his own fashion. The protagonists in both the novel and the movie go
through various changes while on their mission to find Kurtz. Marlow, who is the
rookie captain of a ship, slowly begins to envision Kurtz as an immortal figure.

In the movie, Willard’s state of mind ranges from being a demented soldier to
a crazed assassin. Although they are on the same mission, Marlow and Willard
face terribly different factors that affect their journey. The difference of
experiences, location, technology, communication, and mindset all affect each
character in different ways. Although they may have faced varying environments,
in the end the result was the same, Kurtz is discovered as a sick and possibly
demented individual. Heart of Darkness and Apocalypse Now are two strikingly
similar yet subtly different stories that end in the same fashion. Since Heart
of Darkness was based in the 1890’s, Marlow experiences many things due to the
lack of modern amenities and modern technologies. For example, a damaged steamer
delays Marlow’s journey for almost three weeks. The delay is caused because

Marlow and his crew could not get the rivets they needed to fix the steamer. A
phone or radio could have helped Marlow fix his steamer earlier and gotten onto
the water quicker. Three weeks might have been the difference between life and
death for Mr. Kurtz. Another example of a lack of communication is the
communication between stations: Is he alone there? ‘Yes,’ answered the
manager; "he sent his assistant down the river with a note to me in these
terms: "Clear this poor devil out of the country, and don’t bother sending
another more of that sort. I had rather be alone than have the kind of men you
can dispose of with me." It was more than a year ago. (Conrad 100) If the
communication between stations would have been better, Marlow may have known the
conditions the station was in, and the area around it. Information about

Kurtz’s authority over the natives also could have helped save the life of a
member of Marlow’s crew. Communication with Kurtz’s station would have
benefited Marlow and his mission, by saving precious time and lives. Another
modern amenity Marlow could have used were detailed maps and reconnaissance.

These tools would have allowed Marlow access to solving geographic issues
preventing him from reaching Kurtz’s station, such as a sandbank and a grassy
islet. The sandbank and the grassy islet were what caused Marlow and his crew to
be sitting ducks for the natives to shoot at. The necessary modern amenities may
have made Marlow’s journey a shorter and safer one. During the times in which

Apocalypse Now is based, many aspects of daily life evolved. These changes have
profoundly affected civilized life, while those still out in the jungle may not
have felt any of these effects at all. Willard dealt with different issues than

Marlow because technology solved the many problems that Marlow faced. Willard
did not have to deal with a lack of communication or reconnaissance, all of this
was provided by radio, phone, and reconnaissance planes. Willard also knew about
the conditions of Kurtz’s location, he knew the natives followed Kurtz, and
that it was going to be a gruesome scene when he arrived. As he arrived up
river, Willard saw bodies hanging from ropes and was not the least bit affected
by it. Weapons were also an aspect that was different from the movie and the
book. There were greater fatalities in the movie because guns and bombs are far
deadlier than arrows or spears. In fact, Willard was affected by the shear
number of deaths he witnessed, especially