Movie Essay - Irony and Insanity in Francis Ford Coppola’s Film, Apocalypse Now

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Irony and Insanity in Apocalypse Now

This is end of sanity. As Francis Ford Coppola suggests in Apocalypse Now, sanity is not the manner that would have settled the Vietnam conflict. Rather, through the character of Walt Kurtz, Coppola illustrates the means by which the U.S. Army could have decided the end of the war. Walter Kurtz is a psychopath. Walter Kurtz achieves success in Vietnam. Here lies the irony that Coppola brilliantly conveys. Thousands of troops arrived weekly in Vietnam without the proper arsenal of faculties that one needs to execute the actions essential to success in Vietnam. The boys are not insane enough to win. However, Kurtz, through his psychopathic tendencies, achieve success repeatedly in jungle
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Out there with these natives it must be a temptation to be god." Walt Kurtz denounces the "old morality" because he believes that, in this conflict, morality has nothing to do with "practical military necessity." This lack of morality leads him to perform and order the execution of impulsive antisocial behaviors. The photojournalist makes reference to one such behavior. He tells Willard, "He'll just walk right by you, and he won't even notice you. And suddenly he'll grab you, and he'll throw you in a corner, and he'll say do you know that if is the middle word in life?" This behavior is definitely impulsive. "You know," the photojournalist continues, "the other day he wanted to kill me." However, it is nearly pointless to delve into a discussion of Kurtz's impulsiveness and antisocial behavior. These characteristics are obviously in his possession. Besides, these two traits are always high correlates with success in wartime situations. In this context, they do not set Kurtz apart from most individuals because most individuals express these traits. In Coppola's method, Kurtz's two most important traits that lead to his success remain his pathagnomy, his lack of conscience, and his manipulative ability.

The development of psychopathy occurs in a consistent fashion (Hare and Shalling 19). Initially, during the conditioning process, the

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