Study Guide

Platoon Scene 14

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Scene 14

Scene 14

  • A pipe is being lit. Taylor is completely convinced that Barnes killed Elias. He wants to frag him that night.
  • King agrees—"an eye for an eye." Rhah disagrees. He thinks the military should handle it.
  • Taylor doesn't think that'll work—Bunny, O'Neill, Wolfe, they won't tell the truth. Rhah, King, and Taylor debate a course of action.
  • Rhah says there's a much larger problem than just Elias' death: Taylor and King want to cure the headache by cutting off the head.
  • Taylor says no matter what, Barnes is a murderer. He just can't let it stand.
  • Irritated, Rhah reminds Taylor that he once admired Barnes. Taylor admits he was wrong.
  • Apparently, Barnes has been hit 7 times, and he still isn't dead. Rhah sees this as proof that "Barnes ain't meant to die." The only that can kill Barnes, he says, "is Barnes."
  • Suddenly we hear Barnes' voice: "talking about killing?" He's sitting outside the entrance, drinking from a bottle of Jack Daniels and smoking. He enters.
  • He asks them if they're experts in killing. He'd like to hear about it.
  • He picks up a pipe, looks at it, and asks if they smoke pot to escape from reality. He doesn't need to do that because he is reality, he says. Um, okay?
  • There's the way things ought to be, and there's the way things are, he continues. Elias was "full of s***," a crusader.
  • The implication is that Elias lived and acted according to the way things ought to be—he wasn't in touch with reality.
  • Barnes continues by talking about how he has no problems with the guys in there right now, but if guys don't do what they're told, "the machine breaks down."
  • If the machine breaks down, they break down. Barnes will not allow that.
  • This sure sounds like Barnes' way of justifying all of his previous actions thus far. It also sounds like codswallop.
  • He starts moving towards the exit. He knows the guys loved Elias, and he knows they want to fight for him.
  • He then challenges them. He's there, all by himself, nobody will know. "Kill me," he says.
  • Nobody says or does anything. Barnes seems frustrated: "I s*** on you." He starts to leave.
  • Taylor jumps up and screams "you motherf***er!" and starts attacking him, slamming Barnes' head into a post.
  • A melee ensues. Barnes gets the upper hand, punches Taylor, pushes him down, and pulls a knife on him.
  • Rhah talks Barnes into not doing it. He would have to serve 10 years for killing an enlisted man. Wait. That's it?
  • Barnes controls his anger, and starts to back off. As he gets up, he quickly cuts Taylor just below the eye.
  • Barnes heads for the exit. He pauses, turns around, and says, "Death? What do you all know about death?"

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