The Good Soldier

Subject: Literature
Pages: 4
Word count: 934
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A soldier protects the country and its citizens from external attack. A good soldier puts the needs of a country first before his, and is always ready to sacrifice everything necessary to serve the country. The idea of being a soldier was a very important thing in the lives of young men, and they grew up looking up to soldiers as the good men in the society (Deitchman 78). There were necessary qualifications needed for one to be a qualified soldier and a number of relative things needed to be put into consideration (Wood) (Ford 2). The comparisons of Hamlet’s struggles and the modern day soldiers will be highlighted in this topic, citing the important themes including murder, guilt, honor, suicide, shame and morality.

Honor

The theme of honor is illustrated in different ways. According to Edward Wood, honor was considered an important attribute before and even after joining the army. The people in the army were considered very important people in the society. Hamlet carried himself with honor in that training and recruitment was based on the qualification and skills portrayed. It was what people inspired to be when they grew up since the men in it were considered very important people (Harris 5). They were trained to kill at least one person at a time thereafter they were to develop on their own. The training created a conscious mind as it was not normal for an average person to kill without feeling guilty.

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Soldier of modern day do not go through the training as compared to hamlet. Most of them qualify for the positions due to connections and corruption where they force their way through the top and struggle to remain there (Betancourt 18). The respect given to the soldiers has declined over the years as most are viewed as normal members of the society and there is not much out of the ordinary about them. Therefore, the Hamlet had to incur a lot of training before qualifying and working in the army as compared to the modern day soldiers who mostly had everything presented to them on a silver platter.

Guilt

Guilt is the next theme explored in the film. This has a lot to do with the mind and conscience. There are a lot of activities involved in the army from mass killings to innocent deaths of individuals. Hamlet bared a guilty conscience and was not pleased to participate in activities that would harm innocent lives. Jimmy Massey, a former sergeant explained an incident where an innocent unarmed kid was killed in a rice farm under his watch and he could not live with it. After the war he narrated that he had to ask for a transfer to a different department since the guilt of having killed an innocent child would not let him live in peace there afterwards (Massey). This shows that they were heartfelt of the things that happened during war.

Soldiers on the other hand did everything that they were directed to do. Their actions were under directions and commands from a higher power (Deitchman 79). For instance, they had little guilt for their actions as they link it to acting on behalf of their superiors. Therefore, soldiers were less concerned about the innocence of a victim and cut out the guilt conscience in exercising their duties.

Morality

Morality was another theme witnessed in the film. Morality refers to conforming to rules of the right conduct. The society had different expectations of the people of the army. Hamlets for instance were considered morally right and their actions were a justification to protect the country. From how they conducted themselves and treated other people around them was an indication of how morally upright they were. They were allowed to speak out their experiences and narrate to the society’s expectations. According to Massey a sergeant, they were encouraged to speak out on their experiences after war so as to let go all the bad memories and move forward (Betancourt 20). Therefore, the morality of hamlets was considered pure and righteous. Solders of modern day contrarily did not want to speak about their experiences. The society too did not allow them to open up about them as they were told to leave whatever they did on the field and differentiate between war fields and home.  Hence, the hamlets were considered morally upright compared to the modern day soldiers.

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Hamlets operated on conventional battle lines. This means that they set aside lines which separated the enemy territory from their own territory. The movement of the battle line was used to describe progress of victory in that when the battle line moved towards the enemy territory then they were deemed as the winning team (Harris 8). The cities and areas that the battle line penetrated through would then suffer the consequence of being controlled by the enemy. Soldiers on the other hand had no conventional battle lines, they went out and searched for enemies from wherever they were and destroyed them. Therefore they had no particular order to fight the enemies as they located them from different places and ambushed them with attacks.

In conclusion, there are various comparisons to the modern day soldiers and the hamlet. This is seen from the way they organized their attacks and how they carried themselves in the battle field during wars. The hamlet was therefore viewed as the most relevant and important as compared to the soldiers who were viewed as just the ordinary people. The society had a lot to learn and consider from the hamlet thereby ranking them higher.

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  1. Ford, Madox F. The Good Soldier. 15 June, 2018   <https://books.google.co.ke/books?id=pY68AQAAQBAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=the+good+soldier&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjr5qyeltjbAhWEa8AKHcvLD74Q6AEIJzA            A#v=onepage&q=the%20good%20soldier&f=false>
  2. Deitchman, Elizabeth A. From the Cinema to the Classroom. Hollywood Teaches Hamlet «.”Lehmann, Courtney/Starks, Lisa S. (Hg.): Spectacular-Shakespeare. Critical Theory and Popular Cinema. Madison (2002): 172-186.
  3. Harris, Ron. “Is Jimmy Massey telling the truth” St. Louis Post-Dispatch (2005).
  4. Betancourt, Theresa S., et al. “Past horrors, present struggles: The role of stigma in the association between war experiences and psychosocial adjustment among former child soldiers in Sierra Leone.” Social science & medicine 70.1 (2010): 17-26.
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