the rational and the irrational, between good and evil.
The good does not always triumph. Sometimes the dark side
overcomes what Lincoln called the better angels of our nature."
-General Corman from Apocalypse Now (Milius, Coppola, 1979)
Both The Heart of Darkness and Apocalypse Now examine the good and evil in humans.
In The Heart of Darkness, Marlow speaks of Fresleven who was killed in a fight with
some natives. The argument between Fresleven and the natives was over some chickens,
and Fresleven felt he had been ripped off in the deal. Marlow describes Fresleven as "…the
gentlest, quietest creature that ever walked on two legs."(p. 13 Conrad, 1981) However,
later in the same paragraph Marlow says,"…he probably felt the need at last of asserting his
self-respect in some way. Therefore he whacked the old nigger
mercilessly."(p. 13 Conrad, 1981)
Soldiers in combat are forced to bring the evil within themselves out every time they go
into battle. The scene in Apocalypse Now where Captain Willard first meets Lt. Colonel
Kilgore exhibits the power combat has in bringing out the dark side in humans. The
attitude the soldiers have towards their enemy in the scene shows how evil humans can
be. Kilgore demonstrates his dark side when he tosses the "death cards" on to the
bodies of the dead Vietcong without showing any remorse over the death of fellow
humans. Granted the Vietcong were his enemies, but they were no less human.