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Myths and heroes - the representation of soldiers in art

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Par   •  11 Mai 2016  •  Étude de cas  •  779 Mots (4 Pages)  •  1 455 Vues

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I am going to talk about the notion of Myths and Heroes.

First of all, I will focus on this definition of a hero: a hero is a person admired for her achievements, noble qualities and great courage. And a myth for me is an ancient story about gods, heroes and magic.

I will examine this notion focusing on the representation of soldiers in art and especially through movies but through music.

Therefore, I have chosen the key question: How are soldiers portrayed in all kind of art? I will start by studying two portraits of on screen soldiers then I will see the representation of soldiers in other form of art.

In class we watched two trailer of the movie: “We were soldiers” directed by Randall Wallace in 2002 and the trailer of the film “Full metal Jacket” directed by Stanley Kubrick in 1987. Both film are about the Vietnam War.

I-Two portraits of on screen soldiers

  1. One positive: soldiers shown as hero

In the trailer, officers seem to be reliable and they look victorious while privates are disciplined; willing and ready to sacrifice their life. They want to succeed in the mission no matter the cost.  By leaving their family: wife and children to serve their county, they are defendant of values such as patriotism and sacrifice.

Indeed they are portrayed in a way that matches the Soldier’s creed which is built on American values. For exemple, we can quote “ I will always place the mission firt” or “I am disciplined, physically and mentally though”. Therefore, they embody the typical American hero who is fighting for a just cause.

To sum up they are shown as heroic because they are liberators and representatives of democracy and freedom.
Here the director illustrates perfectly Kennedy’s words about the Vietnam War: “Lets every nation know that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, oppose any foe, to assure the survival and the success of liberty.” While others directors …

  1. An other negative: on-screen soldiers as fallen heroes (anti-heroes)

On the contrary, in this trailer instructors are bossy and recruits look traumatized and defeated. Indeed they seams scared and powerless. We can see that soldiers are disobedient and undisciplined.

We can hear the sentence: “You will be a weapon. You will be a minister of death”. It denounces that soldiers are killers and they are here to kill. The film director wants to drown our attention to the fact that the military training only aim to make the human being a pitiless war machine. He exposes that this is actually a dehumanization process.

We can see a girl with a skinny skirt who embodies a sex symbol opposed to families values. We see the discrepancy between this girl and the wives of the soldiers in We Were Soldier. There are men motivated by personal gain. Indeed, they are self centered and they are clearly not ready to any sacrifice.

The don’t seem willing, they actually seem confused about what they are doing here.

At the end of the trailer, there is a slow motion made to emphasize the slaughter.

The soldiers are portrayed as manipulated victims.

They are shooting everything in every directions without even looking to what they are shooting. They believe they are in a video game whereas they are in real life.

In a nutshell they are shown as fallen heroes because they are desperate to kill and addicted to adrenalin.

II-What about the vision of soldiers in other forms of art.

Lets focus on music and especially the song: “No bravery” written by James blunt.  Popular. Before being a popular English singer and song-writter, he spent several years in the british and served under NATO in Kosovo. This song was written in response to the genocide he witnessed while in Kosovo. Indeed, he wrote this song while he was a soldier in the Balkans.


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