Inherent inside every human soul is a savage evil side that remainsrepressed by society. Often this evil side breaks out during times ofisolation from our culture, and whenever one culture confronts another.History is loaded with examples of atrocities that have occurred when oneculture comes into contact with another. Whenever fundamentally differentcultures meet, there is often a fear of contamination and loss of self thatleads us to discover more about our true selves, often causing perceivedmadness by those who have yet to discover.

The Puritans left Europe in hopes of finding a new world to welcome them andtheir beliefs. What they found was a vast new world, loaded with Indiancultures new to them. This overwhelming cultural interaction caused somePuritans to go mad and try to purge themselves of a perceived evil. Thiscame to be known as the Salem witch trials. During World War II, Germany made an attempt to overrun Europe. Whathappened when the Nazis came into power and persecuted the Jews in Germany,Austria and Poland is well known as the Holocaust.

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Here, humans evil sideprovides one of the scariest occurrences of this century. Adolf Hitler andhis Nazi counterparts conducted raids of the ghettos to locate and oftenexterminate any Jews they found. Although Jews are the most widely knownvictims of the Holocaust, they were not the only targets.

When the warended, 6 million Jews, Slavs, Gypsies, homosexuals, Jehovah’s Witnesses,Communists, and others targeted by the Nazis, had died in the Holocaust.Most of these deaths occurred in gas chambers and mass shootings. Thisgruesome attack was motivated mainly by the fear of cultural intermixingwhich would impurify the “Master Race.”Joseph Conrads book, The Heart of Darkness and Francis Coppolas movie,Apocalypse Now are both stories about Mans journey into his self, and thediscoveries to be made there. They are also about Man confronting his fearsof failure, insanity, death, and cultural contamination. During Marlows mission to find Kurtz, he is also trying to find himself.He, like Kurtz had good intentions upon entering the Congo.

Conrad tries toshow us that Marlow is what Kurtz had been, and Kurtz is what Marlow couldbecome. Every human has a little of Marlow and Kurtz in them. Marlow saysabout himself, “I was getting savage (Conrad),” meaning that he was becomingmore like Kurtz. Along the trip into the wilderness, they discover theirtrue selves through contact with savage natives.As Marlow ventures further up the Congo, he feels like he is traveling backthrough time.

He sees the unsettled wilderness and can feel the darkness ofits solitude. Marlow comes across simpler cannibalistic cultures along thebanks. The deeper into the jungle he goes, the more regressive theinhabitants seem. Kurtz had lived in the Congo, and was separated from his own culture forquite some time.

He had once been considered an honorable man, but thejungle changed him greatly. Here, secluded from the rest of his own society,he discovered his evil side and became corrupted by his power and solitude.Marlow tells us about the Ivory that Kurtz kept as his own, and that he hadno restraint, and was ” a tree swayed by the wind (Conrad, 209).” Marlowmentions the human heads displayed on posts that “showed that Mr. Kurtzlacked restraint in the gratification of his various lusts (Conrad, 220).”Conrad also tells us “his nerves went wrong, and caused him to preside atcertain midnight dances ending with unspeakable rights, which were offeredup to him (Conrad, 208),” meaning that Kurtz went insane and allowed himselfto be worshipped as a god.

It appears that while Kurtz had been isolatedfrom his culture, he had become corrupted by this violent native culture,and allowed his evil side to control him. Marlow realizes that only very near the time of death, does a person graspthe big picture. He describes Kurtzs last moments “as though a veil hadbeen rent (Conrad, 239).

” Kurtzs last “supreme moment of complete knowledge(Conrad, 239),” showed him how horrible the human soul really can be. Marlowcan only speculate as to what Kurtz saw that caused him to exclaim “Thehorror! The horror,” but later adds that “Since I peeped over the edgemyself, I understand better the meaning of his stare it was wide enough toembrace the whole universe, piercing enough to penetrate all the hearts thatbeat in the darkness he had summed up, he had judged (Conrad, 241).” Marlowguesses that Kurtz suddenly knew everything and discovered how horrible theduplicity of man can be. Marlow learned through Kurtzs death, and he nowknows that inside every human is this horrible, evil side.

Francis Coppolas movie, Apocalypse Now, is based loosely upon Conradsbook. Captain Willard is a Marlow who is on a mission into Cambodia duringthe Vietnam war to find and kill an insane Colonel Kurtz. Coppola’s Kurtz,as he experienced his epiphany of horror, was an officer and a sane,successful, brilliant leader. Like Conrads Kurtz, Coppola shows us a manwho was once very well respected, but was corrupted by the horror of war andthe cultures he met. Coppola tells us in Hearts of Darkness that Kurtzs major fear is “beingwhite in a non white jungle (Bahr).” The story Kurtz tells Willard about theSpecial Forces going into a village, inoculating the children for polio andgoing away, and the communists coming into the village and cutting off allthe children’s inoculated arms, is the main evidence for this implication inthat film. This is when Kurtz begins to go mad, he “wept like somegrandmother” when, called back by a villager, he saw the pile of littlearms, a sophisticated version of the “escalating horrors.

” What Kurtz meantby “escalating horrors” is the Vietnamese armys senseless decapitation,torture, and the like. Kurtz is facing a new culture and has a terrible timedealing with it. This was the beginning of his insanity.”All America contributed to the making of Colonel Kurtz, just as all Europeproduced Mr. Kurtz.

Both Kurtzes are idealized in their function aseyewitnesses to the atrocities. What is reflected is the threat of loss ofself, loss of centrality, and the displacement of Western culture from theperceived center of history by those whom it has enslaved and oppressed(Worthy 24).” This tells us that the evil side and the madness in bothKurtzes was brought out by the fear of new cultures different from theirown, and their inability to deal with this fear. The disconnection betweenthe opening words of Kurtz’s report “By the simple exercise of our will, wecan exert a power for good practically unbounded” and the note on the lastpage, “Exterminate all the brutes!” illustrates the progressiveexternalization of Kurtz’s fear of “contamination,” the personal fear ofloss of self which colonialist whites saw in the “uncivilized,” seeminglyregressive lifestyle of the natives. Gradually, the duplicity of man andreality merged for the two Kurtzes, one in the Congo, and one in Vietnam.As this happened, the well defined cultural values masculine/feminine andself/other that had specific segregated roles, could not be sustained in theCongo or in Vietnam.

“For the Americans in Vietnam, as for the colonialistsin Africa, madness is the result of the disintegration of abstractboundaries held to be absolute (Worthy 24).””As it attempts to confront the ‘insanity’ of the war through Kurtz’ smadness, that of the filmmakers, and the madness of U.S.

culture, Hearts ofDarkness exposes the contradictions between the inherent hierarchy andinequality within the cultural forces of the United States and officialdemocratic principles, which led to the perception that it could waste whatit viewed as insignificant little people and preserve its own image in theworld. Along with that is the growing realization, since the Tet Offensiveof 1968, that the U.S.

was somehow way off the mark (Worthy 24).” AmericanCulture views it self as “correct”, and we see ourselves as powerful policeof the world. Our culture looked down upon the Vietnamese because they weremore simple than us, just as Europe and Marlow looked down on the Africans.Believing ourselves to be superior, we had a lot of trouble dealing with thediscovery that we are not. Coppola makes a point to show us that the Chief of a boat armed to the teethwas killed by a native in a tree who threw a spear. Not even an “advanced”Navy boat can defend itself against some “simple” natives armed only withspears. This opens Captain Willards eyes to the horror of the situation henow finds himself in.

Even more intriguing, however, is the similarity between the transformation of the characters in Apocalypse Now, and the cast and crew that created it.In Hearts of Darkness, (a documentary about the making of Apocalypse Now.)Eugene Coppola becomes the narrator ( a Marlow or Captain Willard) andFrancis becomes Kurtz. “Francis believed that only if he could duplicate Willards experience,could he understand his moral struggle. In other words, he had to losecontrol of his own life before he could find the answers to the questionsthat his narrative asked (Worthy 24).” Coppolas main horror was his fear ofproducing a pretentious movie.

“Eleanor repeatedly calls the making ofApocalypse Now a journey into Coppola’s inner self. Coppola, like Kurtz, isregarded as a deity. Moreover, while Willard stalks Kurtz in Apocalypse Now,Coppola stalks himself, raising questions which he feels compelled to answerbut cannot, finally announcing his desire to “shoot himself. ” He meanssuicide, but the cinematic connotation of the term, “to shoot,” jointlycriticizes both the U.S. and Coppola’s film for exercising a dementedself-absorption (Worthy 24).

” Coppola had to deal with perhaps the mostagonizing of his troubles: his shriveling self-confidence. As the budgetsoared, as the producers worried, as the crew and actors grew restless anddispassionate, Coppola worried that he did not have what it takes to finishthe film. He struggled with the ending, with his own creative ability, andwith his sense of purpose.Martin Sheen, who plays Captain Willard, is the one who really faces thehorror. During the filming he has a nervous breakdown and later a heartattack.

Some of his co-actors believed that Martin was becoming Captain Willard, and wasexperiencing the same journey of self discovery.We live our lives sheltered in our own society, and our exposure tocultures outside of our own is limited at best. Often, the moretechnologically advanced cultures look down upon those that they deem to besimpler.

On the occasion that some member of one culture does come intocontact with another, simpler culture, a self discovery happens. Bothcultures realize that deep down inside, all humans are essentially the same.We all posses a good and an evil side, and no culture, not matter how”advanced,” is exempt from that fact.

. This discovery often causes madnessas this evil side is allowed out. Only those who have completed the “journeyinto self” can understand the actions of people such as Kurtz.

They arealone in this world of horror. The Horror!Works Cited1. Apocalypse Now. Dir.

Francis Coppola. With Martin Sheen, Robert Duval,and Marlon Brando. Zeotrope, 1979.2.

Conrad, James. Heart of Darkness and Other Tales. Great Britain, BPCpaperbacks ltd. 1990.3.

Hearts of Darkness. Dir. Fax Bahr, George Hickenlooper. Paramount, 1991.4. “HEARTS OF DARKNESS — A FILMMAKER’S APOCALYPSE.

“, Magill’s Survey ofCinema, 6-15-1995.5. Worthy, Kim, “Hearts of Darkness: Making art, making history, makingmoney, making `Vietnam’.

“.,Vol. 19, Cineaste, 12-01-1992, pp 24. Inherent inside every human soul is a savage evil side that remainsrepressed by society. Often this evil side breaks out during times ofisolation from our culture, and whenever one culture confronts another.History is loaded with examples of atrocities that have occurred when oneculture comes into contact with another.

Whenever fundamentally differentcultures meet, there is often a fear of contamination and loss of self thatleads us to discover more about our true selves, often causing perceivedmadness by those who have yet to discover.The Puritans left Europe in hopes of finding a new world to welcome them andtheir beliefs. What they found was a vast new world, loaded with Indiancultures new to them. This overwhelming cultural interaction caused somePuritans to go mad and try to purge themselves of a perceived evil. Thiscame to be known as the Salem witch trials. During World War II, Germany made an attempt to overrun Europe. Whathappened when the Nazis came into power and persecuted the Jews in Germany,Austria and Poland is well known as the Holocaust.

Here, humans evil sideprovides one of the scariest occurrences of this century. Adolf Hitler andhis Nazi counterparts conducted raids of the ghettos to locate and oftenexterminate any Jews they found. Although Jews are the most widely knownvictims of the Holocaust, they were not the only targets. When the warended, 6 million Jews, Slavs, Gypsies, homosexuals, Jehovah’s Witnesses,Communists, and others targeted by the Nazis, had died in the Holocaust.Most of these deaths occurred in gas chambers and mass shootings. Thisgruesome attack was motivated mainly by the fear of cultural intermixingwhich would impurify the “Master Race.”Joseph Conrads book, The Heart of Darkness and Francis Coppolas movie,Apocalypse Now are both stories about Mans journey into his self, and thediscoveries to be made there.

They are also about Man confronting his fearsof failure, insanity, death, and cultural contamination. During Marlows mission to find Kurtz, he is also trying to find himself.He, like Kurtz had good intentions upon entering the Congo. Conrad tries toshow us that Marlow is what Kurtz had been, and Kurtz is what Marlow couldbecome. Every human has a little of Marlow and Kurtz in them.

Marlow saysabout himself, “I was getting savage (Conrad),” meaning that he was becomingmore like Kurtz. Along the trip into the wilderness, they discover theirtrue selves through contact with savage natives.As Marlow ventures further up the Congo, he feels like he is traveling backthrough time. He sees the unsettled wilderness and can feel the darkness ofits solitude. Marlow comes across simpler cannibalistic cultures along thebanks. The deeper into the jungle he goes, the more regressive theinhabitants seem.

Kurtz had lived in the Congo, and was separated from his own culture forquite some time. He had once been considered an honorable man, but thejungle changed him greatly. Here, secluded from the rest of his own society,he discovered his evil side and became corrupted by his power and solitude.Marlow tells us about the Ivory that Kurtz kept as his own, and that he hadno restraint, and was ” a tree swayed by the wind (Conrad, 209).” Marlowmentions the human heads displayed on posts that “showed that Mr. Kurtzlacked restraint in the gratification of his various lusts (Conrad, 220).

“Conrad also tells us “his nerves went wrong, and caused him to preside atcertain midnight dances ending with unspeakable rights, which were offeredup to him (Conrad, 208),” meaning that Kurtz went insane and allowed himselfto be worshipped as a god. It appears that while Kurtz had been isolatedfrom his culture, he had become corrupted by this violent native culture,and allowed his evil side to control him. Marlow realizes that only very near the time of death, does a person graspthe big picture. He describes Kurtzs last moments “as though a veil hadbeen rent (Conrad, 239).

” Kurtzs last “supreme moment of complete knowledge(Conrad, 239),” showed him how horrible the human soul really can be. Marlowcan only speculate as to what Kurtz saw that caused him to exclaim “Thehorror! The horror,” but later adds that “Since I peeped over the edgemyself, I understand better the meaning of his stare it was wide enough toembrace the whole universe, piercing enough to penetrate all the hearts thatbeat in the darkness he had summed up, he had judged (Conrad, 241).” Marlowguesses that Kurtz suddenly knew everything and discovered how horrible theduplicity of man can be. Marlow learned through Kurtzs death, and he nowknows that inside every human is this horrible, evil side.Francis Coppolas movie, Apocalypse Now, is based loosely upon Conradsbook.

Captain Willard is a Marlow who is on a mission into Cambodia duringthe Vietnam war to find and kill an insane Colonel Kurtz. Coppola’s Kurtz,as he experienced his epiphany of horror, was an officer and a sane,successful, brilliant leader. Like Conrads Kurtz, Coppola shows us a manwho was once very well respected, but was corrupted by the horror of war andthe cultures he met. Coppola tells us in Hearts of Darkness that Kurtzs major fear is “beingwhite in a non white jungle (Bahr).” The story Kurtz tells Willard about theSpecial Forces going into a village, inoculating the children for polio andgoing away, and the communists coming into the village and cutting off allthe children’s inoculated arms, is the main evidence for this implication inthat film. This is when Kurtz begins to go mad, he “wept like somegrandmother” when, called back by a villager, he saw the pile of littlearms, a sophisticated version of the “escalating horrors.” What Kurtz meantby “escalating horrors” is the Vietnamese armys senseless decapitation,torture, and the like.

Kurtz is facing a new culture and has a terrible timedealing with it. This was the beginning of his insanity.”All America contributed to the making of Colonel Kurtz, just as all Europeproduced Mr. Kurtz. Both Kurtzes are idealized in their function aseyewitnesses to the atrocities. What is reflected is the threat of loss ofself, loss of centrality, and the displacement of Western culture from theperceived center of history by those whom it has enslaved and oppressed(Worthy 24).” This tells us that the evil side and the madness in bothKurtzes was brought out by the fear of new cultures different from theirown, and their inability to deal with this fear.

The disconnection betweenthe opening words of Kurtz’s report “By the simple exercise of our will, wecan exert a power for good practically unbounded” and the note on the lastpage, “Exterminate all the brutes!” illustrates the progressiveexternalization of Kurtz’s fear of “contamination,” the personal fear ofloss of self which colonialist whites saw in the “uncivilized,” seeminglyregressive lifestyle of the natives. Gradually, the duplicity of man andreality merged for the two Kurtzes, one in the Congo, and one in Vietnam.As this happened, the well defined cultural values masculine/feminine andself/other that had specific segregated roles, could not be sustained in theCongo or in Vietnam. “For the Americans in Vietnam, as for the colonialistsin Africa, madness is the result of the disintegration of abstractboundaries held to be absolute (Worthy 24).””As it attempts to confront the ‘insanity’ of the war through Kurtz’ smadness, that of the filmmakers, and the madness of U.

S. culture, Hearts ofDarkness exposes the contradictions between the inherent hierarchy andinequality within the cultural forces of the United States and officialdemocratic principles, which led to the perception that it could waste whatit viewed as insignificant little people and preserve its own image in theworld. Along with that is the growing realization, since the Tet Offensiveof 1968, that the U.S. was somehow way off the mark (Worthy 24).” AmericanCulture views it self as “correct”, and we see ourselves as powerful policeof the world.

Our culture looked down upon the Vietnamese because they weremore simple than us, just as Europe and Marlow looked down on the Africans.Believing ourselves to be superior, we had a lot of trouble dealing with thediscovery that we are not. Coppola makes a point to show us that the Chief of a boat armed to the teethwas killed by a native in a tree who threw a spear. Not even an “advanced”Navy boat can defend itself against some “simple” natives armed only withspears. This opens Captain Willards eyes to the horror of the situation henow finds himself in. Even more intriguing, however, is the similarity between the transformation of the characters in Apocalypse Now, and the cast and crew that created it.In Hearts of Darkness, (a documentary about the making of Apocalypse Now.

)Eugene Coppola becomes the narrator ( a Marlow or Captain Willard) andFrancis becomes Kurtz. “Francis believed that only if he could duplicate Willards experience,could he understand his moral struggle. In other words, he had to losecontrol of his own life before he could find the answers to the questionsthat his narrative asked (Worthy 24).” Coppolas main horror was his fear ofproducing a pretentious movie. “Eleanor repeatedly calls the making ofApocalypse Now a journey into Coppola’s inner self.

Coppola, like Kurtz, isregarded as a deity. Moreover, while Willard stalks Kurtz in Apocalypse Now,Coppola stalks himself, raising questions which he feels compelled to answerbut cannot, finally announcing his desire to “shoot himself. ” He meanssuicide, but the cinematic connotation of the term, “to shoot,” jointlycriticizes both the U.S. and Coppola’s film for exercising a dementedself-absorption (Worthy 24).” Coppola had to deal with perhaps the mostagonizing of his troubles: his shriveling self-confidence.

As the budgetsoared, as the producers worried, as the crew and actors grew restless anddispassionate, Coppola worried that he did not have what it takes to finishthe film. He struggled with the ending, with his own creative ability, andwith his sense of purpose.Martin Sheen, who plays Captain Willard, is the one who really faces thehorror.

During the filming he has a nervous breakdown and later a heartattack. Some of his co-actors believed that Martin was becoming Captain Willard, and wasexperiencing the same journey of self discovery.We live our lives sheltered in our own society, and our exposure tocultures outside of our own is limited at best.

Often, the moretechnologically advanced cultures look down upon those that they deem to besimpler. On the occasion that some member of one culture does come intocontact with another, simpler culture, a self discovery happens. Bothcultures realize that deep down inside, all humans are essentially the same.We all posses a good and an evil side, and no culture, not matter how”advanced,” is exempt from that fact.. This discovery often causes madnessas this evil side is allowed out. Only those who have completed the “journeyinto self” can understand the actions of people such as Kurtz.

They arealone in this world of horror. The Horror!Works Cited1. Apocalypse Now. Dir.

Francis Coppola. With Martin Sheen, Robert Duval,and Marlon Brando. Zeotrope, 1979.2. Conrad, James. Heart of Darkness and Other Tales.

Great Britain, BPCpaperbacks ltd. 1990.3. Hearts of Darkness. Dir. Fax Bahr, George Hickenlooper. Paramount, 1991.4. “HEARTS OF DARKNESS — A FILMMAKER’S APOCALYPSE.”, Magill’s Survey ofCinema, 6-15-1995.5. Worthy, Kim, “Hearts of Darkness: Making art, making history, makingmoney, making `Vietnam’.”.,Vol. 19, Cineaste, 12-01-1992, pp 24.Category: Music and Movies

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