The movie Hacksaw Ridge, was an appealing movie to the viewers due to its morally driven plot. It follows the true story of a brave World War II soldier who stood by his beliefs regardless of the consequences. Desmond T. Doss refused to carry a weapon and take the life of another soul, which displays his humanity. The movie follows his inner battle of giving into what his country is asking of him or standing by what he believes. The audience views his hardship on what it is like to hold different beliefs than the rest of society. The protagonist of the movie beautifully displays both compassion and selflessness, drawing the audience members to support his Christian morals. Through ethos, pathos, and logos, the movie conveys a powerful message throughout the story of Desmond T. Doss and his value of faith, which he takes from his religious teachings and applied it to save hundreds of lives.
An influential scene in which the main character, Desmond Doss defends his religion and is one in which he uses pathos, ethos, and logos. The religous belief that Desmond quotes is the sixth comandment which states, “thou shalt not kill” (Sala). This was the comandment in which he followed and defended. The entire movie is driven by this comandment and Desmond’s determination to stand by it. After he received many threats and punishments for refusing to hold a gun, he stands in court having to defend himself. The emotion that Desmond Doss portrays can be described as scared yet strong. His fear is shown through the tears in his eyes, yet his strength is shown through the powerful word choice which he uses. He was determined to fight for his country and felt embarrassed that soldiers were out their dying for their country while he was not. Doss takes a stance on why he wishes to fight for the army and states with emotion, “ because when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, I took it personal sir… it isn’t right that other men should serve and die that I would be just sittin at home… I need to serve, I have to serve”(Hacksaw Ridge 2016). This scene is effective and describes the love and ambition Desmond Doss carries to serve for his country. The audience could also sense his ethical character which is shown through guilt in his words, thus, this drives him to enlist in the army, regardless if he carries a weapon or not. During the actual event, the real Desmond was describes to carry the same emotion and passion to fight for his country(Lange). He was not fighting for his life, but for the innocent lives that were taken during the Japanese’s tragic attack on Pearl Harbor.
Doss’s words are filled with passion and faith; for example, when he states, “with the world so set on tearing itself apart, it don’t seem like such a bad thing to me to want to put a little bit of it back together”(Hacksaw Ridge 2016). This is his powerful line which convinces the United States Army to allow Desmond Doss to fight without any weapon. It describes his faithful personality and moral character. The audience can also view his perspective on war where he feels that it is tearing the world apart. Desmond feels that through his belief on not carrying a weapon, he will be saving lives and not taking them. Furthermore, pathos was also used when Desmond was defending his beliefs saying “I don’t know how I’m going to live with myself if I don’t stay true to what I believe” (Hacksaw Ridge 2016). The affect Doss’s words and emotions have on the judge and soldiers allow him to become the soldier he wanted to be. Through his passion filled words, Doss’s character is portrayed as persistent and dedicated to his beliefs. Often, when someone is in a position where his beliefs are being tested, they give up. In this scene, Desmond goes against the odds and shows that his faith is the most important pillar which holds him to be the strong soldier he is.
In the scene where Desmond must defend himself to the United States Army General, logos is used to show the deranged idea of fighting a war without a weapon. The idea of fighting in such a brutal war without a weapon is unheard of. The simple thought of war is surrounded by a idea of blood and killing. Therefore, when Desmond Doss refuses to carry a weapon, he is mocked and tortured for his strange ideology. He had support from no one, not even his wife or father who strongly tried to change his mind.When facing the General, logos was used by the men of the army to try and convince Desmond that he will not survive battle without carrying a weapon. The judge comments, “Do you know what war is? It is life or death. You are going to die Private.” This is logical because war is no where for fun and games, rather it is where people lose their lives, young or old. The General himself refuses to let Doss fight without a weapon because he himself has fought and seen the war. World War 2 is signigicant for having some of the bloddiest battles. All these soldiers state to Doss that it is too brutal and impossible. Regardless, Desmond continues to stay true to what he believes and is able to convince them to allow him to fight in the war without a weapon.
The real story of Desmond Doss is one where a true hero is shown. Not only because he saved hundreds of lives but because he represents what it means to stay true to your beliefs. During the beginning of his journey, he had not a single person to support him, however, at the end he was recognized and awarded for his bravery and strength. The movie Hacksaw Ridge conveyed a powerful message on peace and humanity. Although war is gruesome and horrifying, the protagonist of the story, Desmond Doss, fights for harmony and to save lives. The audience is exposed to chaos throughout the film, however, Doss’s precision to stay true to his Christian beliefs contradicts the horrid plot of war. At the end, the audience begins to see other soldiers hope in Doss and change their thoughts on religion. Desmond became a symbol of hope to the soldiers who were losing their lives in battle, therefore, a new theme of hope is introduced. The film is powerful from the beginning until the end on standing up for your beliefs and as long as someone has faith in what they believe, they will succeed.
Work Cited Page
Gibson, Mel, director. Hacksaw Ridge. YouTube, YouTube, 15 Mar. 2017,
Messimer, Thomas, and Harold J Sala. “The Sixth Commandment – ‘Thou Shalt Not Kill’ –
Guidelines Devotional.” Guidelines International Ministries, 2 Oct. 2014,
Lange, Katie. “Pfc. Desmond Doss: The Unlikely Hero behind ‘Hacksaw Ridge’.”
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