Should Charles from The Princess and the Pilot have done his duty and escorted Fana to their destination or followed his heart and run away with her?
Prelude: As you already know, I am currently preparing to write the GMAT. One of the sections has some fancy name, but it is essentially a persuasive essay with a 30 minute time limit. English has always been a weak point for me and I haven’t been in a real English class for 7 years so my writing abilities are more than a little rusty. Unfortunately, I am having difficulty finding time to study and do other things I want, like blog, so I’ve come up with a solution: multi-purpose writing. Below is a persuasive essay I wrote on The Princess and the Pilot in 30 minutes in order to practice my essay writing and make a blog post at the same time. It’s not great (I can already poke a dozen holes in my argument), but practice makes perfect. There may be more posts like this in the future.
Note: huge spoilers below, scroll down at your own risk.
In the film, The Princess and the Pilot, Charles is shown to be a perfect soldier: skilled, obedient, and loyal. However, his devotion to his country is misplaced, leading him to suppress any feelings of love and avoid any chances of romance. His choice to value his duty to his country over love for Fana was unwise and detrimental to his future happiness.
Due to Charles’s mixed heritage, and absence of his father, his devotion to his country is an enigma. As seen numerous times in flashbacks to Charles’s past and even in the present at the military base, his countrymen do not respect him; he is often beaten, called racial slurs, and tasked with demeaning chores. No level of acheivement will gain him recognition among all of his countrymen. This was evidenced by the fact that he was still mistreated despite being the top pilot and held at gunpoint after successfully escorting Fana across enemy lines.
One could argue that Charles’s devotion to completing his duty ensured that he would live a comfortable life afterwards. This belief is false and just as misplaced as Charles’s belief that he should help his country. In the final scenes, Charles discards his payment as a parting gift to Fana, indicating that he viewed the gold with little value. His decision to place duty above love left him with nothing: no fame, no recognition, no money, and no girl.
If Charles had chosen love and flown away with Fana, it would have been a different story. From the scenes on the island and Fana’s remark that they should just fly away together, it was clear that she had a romantic interest in Charles. From Charles’s blushing and shouting out Fana’s name as his “last words”, it is also clear that he had feelings for her too. Proponents for duty over love may point out that flying away with Fana would have made him an enemy to his country and cost him everything. While that may be true, at least he would have Fana, which is more than he had after choosing to place duty over love.
A final argument for Charles’s decision is that it was for Fana’s protection. I disagree with that statement because she was being targeted by the enemy for being the prince’s fiancee and future princess. If she had run away with Charles and cancelled her marriage arrangement, she would no longer have been a target for the enemy.
After living in a country that has given him nothing but hardship, it is baffling to me why he chose to place his duty to that country above the love he had for Fana. Charles should have chosen to follow his heart and run away with Fana; he may not have had any fame or fortune, but as shown in the film, choosing to complete his duty left Charles with even less.