Posted by Myrrh on September 03, 1997 at 13:28:26:
In Reply to: Re: duncan..the lil' liar posted by Frannie on September 03, 1997 at 06:15:32:
I think Duncan saw military matters as quite separate from anything personal, and, being a dutiful and honorable British officer, chose his sworn duty to take precedence, much as Col. Munro chose to proceed with trial/hanging plans for Hawkeye, "regardless of what he's done for my children." To such a mindset, personal matters are clearly secondary, and one's honor depends on living up to one's sworn military duty. Yes, he probably was of the opinion that love, romance, emotion had no place in military matters, nor did women in general, and saw no problem with expecting Cora to defer to his judgement and dismiss and forget what had happened and marry him. In fact, he might almost expect her to accept that it was his duty to lie about the matter in order to support the effort to save the fort from the French.
The whole notion of what constitutes honor is one of the underpinnings of the story, I think. Duncan does ultimately give credit to Hawkeye's brand of honor, his eyes are opened and he does begin to "get it," as we see him sacrifice himself and make possible Cora and Hawkeye's release/escape from the Huron together.
As I said in an earlier note (which got lost in the melee), I think Duncan was impressed by Hawkeye's love for Cora, his perseverence and strength, and, yes, his honor, when Hawkeye burst into the Huron camp and pled so forcefully and so eloquently for their lives, even offering his own in their place. I think Hawkeye's speech about "the ways of the Yengees and the Francais traders, and their masters in Europe infected with the sickness of greed" also helped open Duncan's eyes. One of my personal favorite parts of the film is the look on Duncan's face as he translates for Hawkeye. He seems to feel a new elated pride and strength at having found and allied himself with true honor now.
And so he more than redeems himself in the end.
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