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Compare Conrad's Heart of Darkness and Coppola's Apocalypse Now, both being examples of journeys that interlace a physical concept to a spiritual one.

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Introduction

In some cases a journey could prove to be a pivotal event in life. Spiritual and physical journeys can lie completely apart, or they can entwine to produce a complete different dimension of experience. Conrad's Heart of Darkness and Coppola's Apocalypse Now are both examples of journeys that interlace a physical concept to a spiritual one. Conrad's writing style provides several literary techniques to explore concepts of journey, whereas Coppola uses various film techniques. Conrad's Heart of Darkness expresses the journey of a steamboat captain, Marlow, through the Congo. Coextending to this physical expedition is Marlow's impending spiritual journey, and this consequential 'journey into the soul' eventuates due to the physical journey. To exemplify this, Conrad often interweaves the two concepts together, "you lost your way on that river... till you thought yourself bewitched and cut off...from everything you had known once..." (pg33) Marlow's physical expedition permeates itself into his mind and instigates a whole new spiritual journey. The isolation and regression from 'everything he had known once' refers to Marlow's diminution of influences from his European lifestyle and culture -forthcoming with the journey to discover and ascertain his true self, remote from all European influences. Marlow's anxiety towards his journey is exemplified when Conrad appoints the technique of foreshadowing to indicate the nature of the journey; "could we handle that dumb thing, or would it handle us?" ...read more.

Middle

Kurtz however, cannot retrieve himself, "The brown current ran swiftly out of the heart of darkness...as Kurtz's life was running swiftly too, ebbing, ebbing out of his heart into the sea of inexorable time." (pg68) The use of metaphors and analogous language explicates that the further Marlow and the others depart in the physical journey, the less the likelihood of Marlow obtaining a deleterious soul. However, inversely, the further Kurtz proceeds away from his physical journey, the 'heart of darkness' he entitled to himself - the sooner he faces his cessation. He had desecrated his soul, gratified his monstrous passions to the extent where he would now allow his journey to have a path back. This concept is elucidated in the analogy that he had "kicked himself from the earth...he had kicked the very earth to pieces.." (pg66). And so the end of Kurtz's journey occurs, his final words being "The horror! The horror!" (pg69). He seemingly passed judgement on his actions and life, his 'journey' and he deemed it to be horrid. By the end of his journey, Marlow has an altered perception of life. We see that through this spiritual journey he has gained the ability to understand reasons for barbarous actions; a suggestion that it is only through experience and such a journey, that one could ever understand how and why the mind can turn into such a truculent, repugnant thing. ...read more.

Conclusion

As he sees Kurtz, the music begins to play rapidly to produce anticipation. It is a ritualistic slaughter, with constant cuts to a scene of vicious sacrificial killing of a water buffalo by the natives, insinuating Kurtz as a false deity, having an erroneous journey. He is deservingly being slaughtered like an animal, sacrificed back to his jungle. Kurtz's last words are "The Horror, The horror." Here we perceive an acceptance of iniquity in a human's soul, the 'horror' that can arise when a man delves into his soul, and depraves it through attempts to monopolise it. As Willard exits from slaughtering Kurtz, he has been established as the native's 'new deity'. Undershot camera angles endorse Willard's superior status, his face is smeared in mud and his body is profaned with blood. The music is disturbing (producing an anticipative mood) as he progressively walks through the sea of people. There is the prospect of Willard continuing in Kurtz's footsteps. However, he advances to his boat. It was through this journey that he was able to comprehend Kurtz's actions. But Willard himself did not falter over the edge into insanity. The journeys in this case show us that placed into the right scenarios, there does sleep a suppressed greed and insanity in every soul that has the chance to escape if delved into. However, as we can see from Marlow and Willard's examples, this can be understood and the unleashing of such evil can be avoided. Coppola and Conrad both used their techniques to show this concept and those concepts relating to it. ...read more.

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