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What are the less obvious character parallels between Heart of Darkness and Apocalypse Now?
– I am currently reading *Heart of Darkness* and having a hard time getting it as I read (the more I remember who the characters are, the more I start to get the novella). I watched the 1993 television film adaptation of the novella twice so I already know what happens generally, and I have watched *Apocalypse Now* a few times so I am getting a lot of its overall themes. My question is, what are the less obvious character parallels between Joseph Conrad’s novella and Francis Ford Coppola’s motion picture adaptation? Coppola took a lot of influence from the novel, more so than the screenwriter John Milius, so I feel like if I can understand which *Apocalypse Now* characters exist originally in *Heart of Darkness*, I might have a better time reading, and by extension a better time understanding the picture.
The obvious parallels are Charles Marlow/Captain Willard, Mr. Kurtz/Colonel Kurtz, and the Russian Trader/American Photojournalist. The others that are less obvious but seem to make sense to me based on my own observations are the following:
* The Helmsman/Chief Phillips.
* The General Manager/Colonel Kilgore.
* Fresleven/Captain Colby.
* Congolese Natives/Vietcong.
* Secretary/Colonel Lucas.
* Head of the Company/General Corman.
* Mr. Kurtz’s African Mistress/Colonel Kurtz’s Montagnard wife (whose scenes were largely cut out).
* Mr. Kurtz’s Intended/Colonel Kurtz’s wife.
* Swede/the “regular Army” soldier that the Chief refers to.
What is lost on me is the lack of a real and direct connection between a character in *Apocalypse Now* with the Brickmaker, the Chief Accountant, or the Doctor in *Heart of Darkness*. I read some of the original 1969 John Milius screenplay of *Apocalypse Now* and the civilian character (who exists in the picture as the “terminate with extreme prejudice” intelligence officer) is described as wearing a white tropical suit, which describes the Chief Accountant more than any other character in *Apocalypse Now*.
Also, the Pilgrims are lost on me. Are they better represented by Kilgore’s Air Cavalry soldiers (if the General Manager and Kilgore comparison makes sense) or by the French Colonialists at the plantation in the picture, or both?
Any insight would be appreciated.
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