Dignity and battlefields

The other day I chanced upon a comment on a blog about re-enactments of historical battles. Someone who participated in re-enactments described the event as dignified, and that got me thinking about battles and dignity. The more I thought about it, the less they seemed to go together.

See, it seems to me that a proper historical re-enactment of a battle shouldn’t be dignified. Not even a little. It should be confusing, frightening and horrifying. There shouldn’t be people just falling over quietly to play dead, they should lie in a pool of blood screaming while they try to hold in their intestines with their one hand that still works. Spectators should have nightmares after watching it. I’ve been to re-enactments and battle pageants many times, and I don’t ever remember seeing a grown man crying for his mother right before he starts convulsing into his death throes, does that really sound historically accurate to you?

I imagine a really accurate re-enactment would be far more traumatic than entertaining.

About Leo Tarvi

Mostly fictional.

Posted on September 2, 2011, in Personal and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. While this is true, I also imagine a whole lot less people would pay the entrance fees to a renaissance faire that left their children crying and traumatized.

  2. I’ve been told before to tamp down the real life horror of battle to “put on a good show”. Most producers won’t allow blood any more, stating that faire is a family environment. I agree to a point. However, I would stress that there is nothing dignified about mass slaughter, no matter why the battle is taking place.

    • I’m suddenly wanting to produce a play featuring a fight scene that will give audiences nightmares. A bog-standard cliché ridden story but the entire context of the plot feels different because of this one, horrific scene. The critics would love it. We’d be on Broadway within the year!

  3. I think that a re-enactment of a battle is not really dignified. The people acting out the battle are reliving their childhood when it was always great fun to have a pretend battle, although it does have some educational values.
    The people who have dignity are the same ones that took part in the real battle. For what ever reason, they believed in what they were fighting for.

    An interesting topic!

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