A Double-Edged Sword: Honor in "The Duellists"

In Alan Barkman, Ashley Barkman & Nancy King (eds.), The Culture and Philosophy of Ridley Scott. Lexington Books. pp. 45-60 (2013)
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Abstract
In this essay I argue that Ridley Scott's first feature film, The Duelists, which is an adaptation of a Joseph Conrad novella, contains his deepest meditation on honor in his entire career. The film may be said to answer the following question about honor: is being bound to do something by honor, when it is contrary to one's self-interest, a good thing, or a bad thing? It may be said to give the answer that it may be either good or bad. It is bad that D'Hubert is bound by honor to duel with Feraud; it is good that, in the end, Feraud is bound by honor to cease dueling with D'Hubert. In this way, Kant was correct that "the inclination to honor" may light "upon that which is in fact in the common interest and in conformity with duty," or it may light upon what is contrary to duty.
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Archival date: 2016-11-20
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