Posted by Kate on December 29, 2000 at 21:04:48:
In Reply to: Re: The Major's sacrifice posted by Jeri on December 29, 2000 at 19:24:31:
: : : : Oooooo, I love a good meaty discussion......heads up.......here comes by two pennies worth! I have always been fairly clear about Duncan and his motives etc. He was an English officer and gentleman, brought up to believe honour and duty, and devotion to ones country were of paramount importance. I have never really seen him as a 'bad guy' in this movie, he lies about what he saw at Camerons Cabin because he sees the bigger picture, the need for England to have victory over the French, as being far more important. But it is this same belief in honour and duty, that ensures he makes the ultimate sacrifice. It is not just about his love for Cora that prompts this sacrifice, I think that he would have done it for any English lady, as he would never have been able to live with the dishonour of not defending 'the fairer sex', to the bitter end. I think that his use of the words 'my compliments, sir' are interesting, because it shows him as being the 'English Officer' right to the bitter end.
: : : : And then there is Alice! Isn't it amazing how the least interesting character can be the cause of so much difference of opinion? I always thought that all her actions (or lack of....) were fairly clear until I got talking to Rich about her, and realised that we had completely opposing points of view!! I agree with a lot of what Kate has said. I never thought that Alice was in love with Uncas, simply because she was too naive and inexperienced to know her own feelings. I do agree that she sees Uncas as a protector figure, he projects an authoritative figure at the George Rd incident (with the horses), and again at the Burial Ground (when he keeps her quiet), and then a third time in the cave. When Uncas attacks Magua, the look in her eyes isn't love, it is hope....that once again, he will take control of the situation and protect her. When he fails, she loses that hope, which prompts her move to the cliff edge. Now, here is where Rich and I disagreed, when I watch that (beautifully filmed) scene before she takes the dive, I see a woman who has a moment of clarity. Up until the very last shot of her, she is a trembling, weak, rather pathetic little girl lost. But in the last shot, having made her decision, she has a look of total peace...almost strength. I think that she believed death was the only way out, remember that like the loss of ones honour for Duncan, the loss of a womans virtue would have been the greatest imaginable shame. She could not have known what happened to the others, and Uncas ..... her 'protector' was gone. I think that I am in the minority here, because I think that most people think she killed herself because she was completely overwhelmed by fear, but personally, I think that it was her one and only brave and independent act.
: : : : Aaaahh, I feel soooooo much better now that I have gotten that off my chest!
: : : : Welcome aboard Tim!
: : : : Adele
: : : Go Girl! Well said.
: : : I haven't seen the movie in several weeks, but the look in her eye before she jumps never fails to make the hair on my neck stand up.
: : : I agree about Duncan as well. Doing his bit for England...
: : : Thanks,
: : : Tim
: : What an interesting discussion! I'm enjoying everybody's opinions...and also pretty much staying out of it because I've always known I was in the DISTINCT minority around here...I love the character of Duncan but I've always thought he was pretty much a total jerk, redeemed mainly by his action in the end. And also apparently in the DVD version he helps out a bit at the fort. I never thought his lying about the scene at Cameron's cabin was justified in the least by an higher cause of the war or whatever...if you have a sense of "Honor" then that sense should not include random acts of deception. and I think it's an interesting point his sense of chivalry extends to English women, but obviously in the case of his deceit not to the women and children who are settlers and in danger on the frontier. Just an interesting point, I thought. Great discussion...
: : Christina
: Hi Christina!
: That's ok. Even though I think Duncan acted out of honour and duty, I thought he was a pretty lame excuse for a human being too.
Ditto, ladies! I didn't much care for him as a person either.
I know that 'keeping your eye fixed firmly on your duty' was something (still IS something) that soldiers were/are trained to do and I think he was powerless to do otherwise. So he lied.
But I think his final sacrifice redeemed him somewhat, in my eyes. The fact he was prepared to die not just for the girls, his Colonel's daughters, but also in Hawkeye's place, was an honourable thing. But MOST importantly, he also had the grace to acknowledge Hawkeye's honour too, with the line 'my compliments, *SIR*'. I think, at that moment, the two adversaries finally realised a kind of 'unspoken accord' and I think Hawkeye acknowledged this by taking time to kill Duncan cleanly, rather than let him suffer - his way of saluting an honourable man.
But - he did rather hide his 'many admirable qualities' very well!
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