|“Paths of Glory” condemns war by showing the misery and hardships of soldiers during World War I. In the movie, lieutenants and generals have total control over the soldiers. The general made erratic decisions and even hurt his own troops, but no one was able to take a stand against him.
The movie sends out a message that war is violent and brutal. In the beginning, there were continuous scenes of bombings and loud explosions. The only protection soldiers had were trenches, which were not always effective. Thousands of soldiers lined up in rows and were willing to sacrifice their lives. During one of the scenes, two soldiers talk about bayonets and machine guns, and how easily people could die. He even compares a soldier’s life to a cockroach, and says that an insect has a better chance of living than a soldier.
The movie also depicts that generals are completely ignorant towards their troops. In the beginning of the film, Mireau marches in front of the soldiers and asks, “ready to kill some germans?” This quote shows the violence in war. Then, Mireau encounters a soldier suffering severely from shell shock, yet he does not even care about this situation. Instead, he yells at him and even hits him for being incompetent. Another lieutenant kills a soldier with a grenade, but denies it afterwards, and explains that his death was an accident. No one will believe what a soldier says because they’re at a lower standing. This shows the helplessness of soldiers during the war. Later on, Mireau gives orders to fire on his own troops. When they disobeyed the orders and refused to advance, they are tried for cowardice and executed as a result. The lives of three innocent men were taken because of the general’s own mistake. After the execution, the general said, “the men died wonderfully.” This shows the lack of respect people have towards their own army. Generals were willing to harm their own men just for their own self-interests.