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Platoon: The Horrors of War and the Duality of Man

13 Pages 3135 Words April 2018

The conflict in Vietnam brought unthinkable horrors to the Vietnamese, but also to the American G.I.'s (General Infantryman) involved. Oliver Stone's "Platoon" is one of the few films that truly details the horrors of the Vietnam war in a realistic manner. Platoon delivers this to us through a multitude of characters and their corresponding actions, the first being Pte.Chris Taylor, a recruit (or FNG) who possesses a strong will to meaning as he firmly believes that the war will give him a purpose in life and that he will discover his true self through his relations with other GI's. Moreover, the two Non-Commissioned Officers (NCO's) both fight the war on their terms. S.Sgt.Barnes operates on hedonistic egoism to further his interests whereas Sgt.Elias operates on the principles of utilitarianism as he looks to keep his men safe. Finally, the men of "Platoon" are subject to freedom through compatibility as they are all subject to the circumstances of the war, but in the end are each responsible for their actions. As a result, "Platoon" is a movie that showcases how the duality of man portrayed by the two NCO’s constantly affects and influences Chris Taylor and the other G.I.’s by turning them into creations of their surroundings, impacting their human nature, and conflicting ethical views.
Chris Taylor is a young and naive American who arrives in Vietnam to fight in a war he doesn't quite understand. During his time in Vietnam, Taylor’s backstory is revealed through narrated letters that he writes to his grandmother back home, and his reason for enlisting in the U.S. Army becomes abundantly clear. It is established that Taylor enlisted not only out of patriotism but also out of a strong will to meaning as Taylor was not drafted by the government. Taylor does not want to conform to the ideology that his parents have put in front of him, and he believes that he will be able to find purpose and meaning 3’000 miles from America...

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