Kevin BraboMaxsonEng 12 Per 412 December 2017H of D and Apoc Now Comparison Although it was published in 1899, Heart of Darkness is still very relevant today. The book brings controversial topics to the table such as imperialis, insanity, good vs evil, and race. In this paper I will try to compare Apocalypse Now and Heart of Darkness, as well as talk about what makes these two different. Even if they are placed in very different time periods, they have the same/similar themes and narratives. Even if the structure of both are drastically different, they both tell the same story of a man that ventures out and discovers himself and those discoveries are made when he has to face his fears, madness, death, and the manifestations of evil. When there are times where someone is separated from one’s culture, or when one culture butts heads with another culture, evil tends to come out within at least one. According to the Cambridge Dictionary, imperialism is defined as, “the attempt of one country to control another country, esp. by political and economic methods.” The theme of imperialism is the most obvious one throughout both Apocalypse Now and Heart of Darkness. In Apocalypse Now, America is attempting to overthrow the communist regime in Vietnam, whereas in Heart of Darkness, wealthier nations are raiding Africa for their goods such as ivory and even to gain slaves. Conrad suggests that in the postcolonial world, imperialism is a thing of greed, and that stands true if we use the example of the wars in the Middle East in order to gain crude oil for our nation. Another dominant theme within both is a human’s weakness to falling into darkness and unleashing their more primal and savage side. The setting of the jungle and the availability of a power struggle/ the ability to hold power, provides the perfect motivation for this monster to rise up from within us, which we can see slowly rise up in Kurtz, both in the movie and novel. The deepest level of a man that falls into darkness is “madness.” This is shown excellently by Coppola as he portrays Kurtz as someone who understands why the men of the Vietnam war went mad because of what happened to them. The lighting used in the film helped portray this by hiding Kurtz’s face in the shadows most of the time. Both Conrad and Coppola portray their main characters as a traditional hero, a hero that is tough, independent, honest, and fearless. However, Coppola’s character, Willard, lacks the same deep thinking quality that Marlow has, someone who can have deep philosophical insights, meaning that their characters while similar are very much different. In both storylines, Marlow and Willard aren’t just tasked with tracking and hunting down Kurtz, but something deeper that is unwritten. They are both on a larger task of understanding evil and how it can manifest in us all and how evil can reach the surface of man. Although they share many differences, they both share many similarities as I have shown. Generally films have a hard time converting a book to the silver screen, so I am quite amazed at the detail that was put into Apocalypse Now for having a base from Conrad’s text, and then given a spin on the setting. Both messages of the book and movie about the exploration of evil and the manifestation of evil within us humans is a very intriguing idea to be explored, and the revealing truth about imperialism, even for a book that was written during times of imperialism. So after everything I have shown, I can confidently say that Apocalypse Now can be used as an example for when book to movie adaptations go well. Coppola showed us that quality doesn’t have to be sacrificed for story detail.