Posted by MMMMarcia on July 29, 1999 at 22:20:40:
In Reply to: Re: The Character of Duncan posted by Gayle on July 29, 1999 at 20:18:08:
: It strikes me that Mann made a serious attempt to have his characters act as real people would, which leads me to wonder why Duncan gave up so easily.
Hmmmmmm...never thought of him as ever having given up, until he realized that someone was going to have to die in those flames, and that Cora needed to be with Hawkeye.
:It seems to me he would have tried to do something to regain Cora's attention and admiration, and instead, he did everything to alienate her further.
Don't forget that until Cora told him straight out at the fort that her final answer was no, he was certain in his heart they were going to be together. I don't think he ever seriously thought she would reject him. And his only real opportunity to defend either Cora OR Alice up to that point was during the first ambush, when he gallantly stood between both of them & the attackers with his sword drawn.
:For instance - Cora was the only one in the entire bunch that paid any attention to Alice's plight. Alice may have been a hopeless case, but Cora was determined to protect her. Every act and every thought was devoted to getting her sister through. I think Cora would have snatched the pistol for her own protection, but my impression was that her only thought when she took it was to better protect Alice. And it seems as if all the men - Duncan, the soldiers, everybody completely forgot about there being TWO women there to protect - it was everybody for himself until Hawkeye got there, and even he didn't give two hoots about Alice. It was only Cora that he was thinking about. So, wouldn't it have been reasonable for Duncan to leap to Cora's aid and at least make a show of helping Cora defend Alice?
Again, I think Duncan did that when the opportunity presented itself...he defended them both. (He more or less had to, of course, since they were practically joined at the hip!) But during the massacre, he was separated from them as he led his men in the fight, and only reunited with them during the canoe chase & the cave scene. And even though he and Hawkeye definitely had Cora's interests in mind, they both knew it was a package deal, and I think either of them would have fought equally hard to defend either sister. Duncan certainly would have, as he was a man bound by honor & custom to defend innocent women & children.
Also, I believe that had Uncas not gone up the cliff to try to save Alice, and Duncan had the option to do so, he would have committed himself to trying to win her freedom, too, as it would have been the "right" thing to do. And Hawkeye would have done so, as well, simply because Alice was so important to Cora, and Cora was so important to him. I think it was more a matter of opportunity to defend Alice, per se, not having come up. It was always a matter of needing to save them both.
Just my thoughts...for what they're worth.
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