Heart Of Darkness And Apocalypse Now Analysis

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Parallels in Heart of Darkness and Apocalypse Now

In the interpretation and comparison of Heart of Darkness and Apocalypse Now there begins to unfold a list of similarities that can be
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Everywhere outside of Kurtz's set domain is the jungle, blooming with life, but at the same time, sinister, as if hinting the presence of death. Marlow describes the woods as "unmoved, like a mask- heavy, like the closed door of a prison- they looked with their air of hidden knowledge, of patient expectation, of unapproachable silence." Coppola creates a more horriful image, of bodies hanging from trees and littered about on the ground, flies swarming about their decay. And amid all the death, both Marlow and Willard find human heads littered about at the door and window to Kurtz's house. J.G. Frazer in his book The Golden Bough examines the practices of headhunters, showing that the act of removing a victim's head and displaying it is a symbol for a successful crop season:

The principle seasons for head-hunting are the times of planting and reaping. In order that the crop may turn out well, every farm must get at least one human head...The victims head, hands and feet are cut off and brought back to the village, where they are received with great rejoicing. (p. 502 The Golden
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His man-god qualities are linked to the way the natives adore and worship him; the alters with skulls and severed heads, the natives living in a state of squalor while Kurtz dwells in a palace of idolatry. If we were to look into the works of Frazer one would find that Coppola based the mythic figure of Kurtz on the Cambodian Fire God who had the power to bring fire down from the sky. Kurtz hints at this power, "We revel in our own blood, we fight for glory, for land that's under our feet, gold that's in our hands, women that worship the power in our loins. I summon fire from the sky. Do you know what it is to be a white man who can summon fire from the sky?" These are the powers of technology that Kurtz has brought from the other world into this primal region - napalm, grenades, objects of war and terror. The natives have no perception of technology, no concept imaginable of man flying or dropping fire from the sky, so they appointed Kurtz the post of Fire God and the benefits that go along with it. Temporary benefits they are, for we know, according to Frazer that the Fire God is not allowed to die a natural death, "when one of them is seriously ill and the elders think that he cannot recover, they stab him to death"(p. 310 The golden Bough). It is not clear if Kurtz knows that he is exchanging his mortality, and the wretchedness associated with it that allows one to pass so gently away, for divinity. For a man-god, mortality fades into an

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