A Few Good Men - Honor Essay

897 WordsApr 8, 20134 Pages
As defined by the dictionary, honor is a high respect that is earned through deeds and reputation. But, what is honor, and how does one receive it? Honor is like many things that are hard to put into words. Along with that, honor can be totally different, depending on your perspective. In the play, A Few Good Men, there is a central theme based around honor, who is doing right and who is doing wrong. The definitions of honor accepted by each person are so outstandingly conflicting that the play analyzes what honor is and at what cost is honor worth obtaining. To the lawyers, honor is a punch line. To the marines at Gitmo it is a necessity to survive. To the commanding officer, Colonel Jessup, it is authorization for the strong to…show more content…
The fact of the play is a weak young man was killed to ensure a “code” and to instill in him “honor.” Yet, somewhere, there is a disconnect between real honor, and that honor demonstrated by Jessup. Jessup has the honor of a bully. He helps his friends, and sticks it to his enemies. Meanwhile, real honor, as one of the accused soldier’s notes at the end of the film, is defending those who are too weak to defend themselves. It is to behave admirably and justly, not simply to follow one’s orders, no matter what their cost. “That Santiago’s death, while tragic, probably saved lives.” Jessup believes that, if one link is weak, the whole chain is weak, and that it is his responsibility to make it stronger. Jessup’s sense of honor to the Country is doing whatever is needed, at all costs. Jessup argues that while he might be “grotesque” he is necessary to defend the nation. He sees no other way to defend the nation except to force every man into a defender of it. To him, there is giving code REDs or there is watching the nation fall apart. But these two options are the same thing. He believes the nation is indefensible without ordering this ruthlessness against his own troops, yet our values oppose code REDs. Jessup is a true patriot in his eyes. For years, he has selflessly served his country and probably seen many murders committed on the battlefield. It is therefore understandable that he would want to make his marines

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