This essay sample essay on Heart Of Darkness Essay Topics offers an extensive list of facts and arguments related to it. The essay’s introduction, body paragraphs and the conclusion are provided below.
Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, written in 1902, deals with themes relating to the self-discovery of one’s self and the hypocrisy of European imperialism in the late 19th century. Francis Ford Coppola’s film, Apocalypse Now, successfully transferred the themes discussed in Heart of Darkness to a 20th century format-the Vietnam War.
By doing so Coppola changed the way individuals looked at the novel written by Conrad. It leads them to realize the truth behind the darkness that blinded them from reality. The movie made individuals such as you and me look at the novel and closely examine the hypocrisy and colonization behind it. So Apocalypse Now captures this atmosphere, and in the meantime allows Hearts of Darkness to show us the torment required to bring forth such a vision of inhumanity.
Marlow’s journey throughout the Congo can be divided into three sections: the outer station, central station, and the inner station. These three regions each have increasing levels of isolation and darkness. In Apocalypse Now the same three sections were used, however they were changed slightly to suit the Vietnam setting. The outer station was represented by Lieutenant Colonel Kilgore’s camp, central station was represented by the Du Lung Bridge, and Kurtz’s compound in Cambodia, represents the inner station.
In Conrad’s novel , the first of these stations was known as the Outer Station and was located near the beach.
This was the point in the novel were Marlow met the accountant. The accountant in Conrad’s novel compares somewhat to the character in Apocalypse Now named Kilgore. You could say that they both dressed in the same manner because they were always dressed so nicely.
But before Marlow got to the station he witnessed a French man-o-war firing into the desolate continent. This in a way compares to the way that Kilgore took over the beach by destroying all of its inhabitants. Although they are similar in some ways, they did have very different reasons for doing this. The French ship was firing because they supposedly saw some natives trying to attack their ship. Kilgore took the beach and killed most of its inhabitants just so he and his men could have a good time by going surfing. Although they seem different, they are still so similar because they are destroying human lives just for their entertainment.
In the movie between the first and second stations Coppola added something that make it a little more interesting and show us what they are like as they slowly drift further into the darkness and chaos. I am referring to when their patrolboat stopped a boat that contained Vietnamese civilians and supplies. Because a girl made a move towards a basket the soldiers panicked and started to fire wildly, killing everybody onboard. The girl was however only wounded, but Willard coldly executed her. This scene shows us that they were all starting to lose their humanity and turn into some sort of savages. It was like they were all being engulfed by the darkness, one at a time.
The next stop in their journey is the Du Lung Bridge, the last military stronghold on the river. This last military outpost somewhat relates to the place in Conrad’s novel known as the Central Station. This was the place in the novel where Marlow first met the man known as the brickmaker. The brickmaker, as he is known, seems to be some sort of spy for the manager to see what kind of person Marlow is. In the end he mistakes Marlow for being a very important and influential person in Europe. The only similarity between this and Apocalypse Now happened when Willard was looking for the man in charge at the bridge. Because all of the soldiers thought he was an important person, they thought Willard was the leader.
The next thing that happened in both the novel and the book was the death of some of their men in ambushes along the way to Kurtz’s station. In the novel, the helmsmen died because he was hit with a spear. In the movie, the helmsmen, Chief Phillips is killed by a spear also, but there is also a death of another one of their comrades-Clean. He died in a surprise attack by the Vietcong. These are the points in both the novel and the movie where the characters Marlow and Willard start to “lose it.” Because Marlow refuses to recognize the black helmsman’s humanity, he becomes even more savage. He also believes that the mission is lost. Willard also starts to lose hope in his mission to terminate Kurtz.
After these tragic deaths, they finally come upon Kurtz’s station where the harlequin is waiting for them. In the novel the harlequin is portrayed as a comical Russian in colorful clothing. In the movie he is portrayed as an American Photo Journalist. They both seem to think that Kurtz is some sort of god and is a man of great intelligence and intellectual thinking. Although after closely examining the area Marlow finds a bunch of heads on posts. Marlow was not very shocked at the sight. He took this as an indication that Kurtz lacked restraint in the gratification of his lusts. Marlow assumed that Kurtz was hollow inside and needed something to fill that. The Russian was irked by Marlow’s attitude of distrust towards Kurtz. What I find most fascinating is Marlow’s idea of Kurtz being hollow. This would relate to the poem that Kurtz was reading when Willard was his prisoner-T.S. Eliot’s Hollow Men.
After meeting the harlequin is where the two plot lines start to differ drastically. In the novel, they find Kurtz in the station and bring the sickly looking man back onto the steamer. But during the night Kurtz escapes and plans to attack the people on the steamboat. In the movie Willard is taken prisoner by Kurtz because he knew that Willard was sent here to kill him. While Willard was with Kurtz he learned that you must make a friend of horror and that it’s judgement that defeats us.
But in both the novel and the movie, Marlow and Willard come to their senses and realize the great task remaining before them. They both eventually do kill Kurtz and put and end to his tyranny (although in the novel his death was a little more prolonged). Finally, on his deathbed Kurtz says one of his most famous lines in both the novel and the movie, “The horror! The horror!” It seems that Kurtz desired power and hated anyone who got in his way. It is also possible that he said this because he was angry that he did not get to finish what he was doing.
There was also a similarity in something what Kurtz had once written in the novel, and what Willard had found when he was going through some of Kurtz’s documents. These two statements were “Exterminate all the brutes” (novel) and “Drop the bomb, kill them all.” (movie) These two sentences are written differently but have the same exact meaning. Here the two Kurtzes sum up what their goal was. It also shows us what was going on in his head, and leads us to wonder whether we are or aren’t like him.
Lastly, is that the endings in the novel and movie are a little different. In the movie Willard just sails away in his PT boat with Lance, but in the novel, Marlow returns home with the packet of papers Kurtz had given him. Here he eventually gives most of the documents away to people like Kurtz’s relatives and reporters. But in the end, when Marlow is talking to Kurtz’s wife, he does something quite astounding. He lies to her saying that her name was the last words he’d spoken. He did this so she would not have to find out about Kurtz’s true black heart. He wanted to keep her in her own little world of reality where she was safe from all evil. If she would have found out, it would have led her and many other Europeans to question their own civilization. The novel then ends with Marlow saying that we’ve been carried out to the darkness but now it’s coming back with the tide.
The movie, Apocalypse Now, dramatically changed the way we look at Heart of Darkness. Because it is expressed visually and in simpler words it is easier to understand the novel and draw conclusions about what is in it. It also made us more aware of the parallels between the Vietnam War and the European colonization of various parts of the world. It helped to lift the veils that were preventing us from seeing the truth behind each topic. It is like what Marlow was talking about at the end of the novel. The fact that governments may be able to hide the truth for a while, but it will eventually come back to haunt them.