Paths of Glory
Published 31 Jul 2017
The irony behind Lt. Roget’s choosing of Cpl. Paris to be charged with cowardice in the face of the enemy, is that based on the conflict between these two characters, it would show that Lt. Roget is the one who had always displayed cowardice in dangerous times. In the scene where their group infiltrated enemy lines, Lt. Roget, in his seeming panic, had hurled the grenade virtually at an empty target, resulting in the death of their comrade.
It was ironic for General Broulard to seek punishment for General Mireau for ordering his men to fire at his own troops because he himself, in a figurative way, has been practicing the same principles. The only difference is that Gen.
Broulard does this in a manipulative manner to further enhance his Military career, as was evidenced in the scene where he had offered Gen. Mireau’s position to Colonel Dax.
Private Arnaud’s death was especially ironic because, as he had stated while in a conversation in the barracks, “I’m not afraid of dying tomorrow, only of getting killed” (Kubrick, S.). It was also ironic to note that at the time of this statement, he had no inkling that it was to be the very army that he had served who would eventually kill him.
Other ironies employed by the director include the serving of a sumptuous last meal to the would-be executed. It was ironic that the food was from Gen. Mireau himself, who had masterminded the mock trial. Another is the attempt to bring Pvt. Arnaud to full health due to his fractured skull, only to be executed by firing squad in the next morning. Yet another enjoyable irony in the film is when Colonel Dax forced the coward Lt. Roget in heading the execution of Cpl. Paris, whom he had despised even before the war, and whom he is obviously petrified with.
Perhaps Director Kubrick had employed ironies on a war movie to lessen the impact of brutality, and add humor to the film-an unusual yet effective and clever way of presenting a war movie. This deliberate attempt was also emphasized by not showing the enemy forces in the entire of the film, and the appearance of the only German—a nervous lady singer.
- Harris, J. (Producer), & Kubrick, S. (Director). (1957). Paths of Glory. [Motion Picture]. United States: MGM.