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Qualities of honor and honoring one’s duty are characteristics that most human beings admire. While many may not live up to such ideals they still hold them in high regard. 3:10 to Yuma…
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Teacher The ideals of honor and duty are oft used in the plots of movies to engage the viewers. Qualities of honor and honoring one’s duty are characteristics that most human beings admire. While many may not live up to such ideals they still hold them in high regard. 3:10 to Yuma (directed by James Mangold), Sleepy Hollow (direct by Tim Burton) and The Red Badge of Courage (directed by John Houston) are all examples of films that make use of both honor and duty to enrich the plot and give the story line more depth.
The plots of the above stated movies are extremely diverse for one another i.e. 3:10 to Yuma is centered on cowboys and outlaws; Sleepy Hollow’s story is derived from ghosts, witches and black magic; whereas The Red Badge of Courage, is the depiction of a civil war zone.
3:10 to Yuma has several characters that honor and duty seem to have affinity with. Evan (Christian Bale), the impoverished rancher, exhibits both qualities on several occasions where as towards the end it is Wade (Russell Crowe), the outlaw, who seems to exude them the most. The story is from a time where both honor and duty were benchmarks on which men assessed their character. The movie also depicts the same thing. Throughout the movie Evan is trying to maintain his honor, whether it is trying to keep his livelihood i.e. his ranch, working or trying to get Wade captured and later helps in having him delivered for an arrest. Evan is trying to fulfill his duty to his family and more specifically his sons so that they have a father they can look up to. His actions depict a certain behavior that his sons can one day follow. His past as a soldier haunts him which is why he vows to himself to honor his word and that becomes the most important thing for him, it becomes his duty.
Sleepy Hollow, is a completely different genre and falls somewhere in between a suspense thriller and a horror movie. The concepts of honor and duty are evident most in one character and one character alone, and that is Ichabod Crane. Though his job scares him, though he finds it horrifying at times, Ichabod never backs out and he never quits. His character at one point even faints out of fear during the movie but in a nutshell his resolve does not waiver. Throughout the investigation of the headless horsemen there are many instances where Ichabod is faced with situations he would rather not be in, his duty towards his investigation is more important to him however and he does not abandon it. His honor is in protecting the woman he loves and finishing the job he came to do.
Similarly, The Red Badge of Courage is the story of a soldier that abandons his duty in the midst of war. His fear of death guides his actions but it is his sense of honor that brings him back to his duty. After watching the senseless deaths of many of his comrades as he’s trying to run away from the battlefield the protagonist of the movie realizes that he’s making a mistake. He finally returns to the battlefield to fight alongside his men and to uphold his duty. The ideals of defending one’s cause and never abandoning a comrade in battle are the main focal points of the plot. It is only after he puts the Red Badge back on that the Youth (Audi Murphy) can feel like a man again, without which he is nothing but a coward. Read More
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