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
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These principles prevent us from murdering our own marines, even at the cost of saving more lives. According to Jessup, justice would be allowing him off because he keeps the country stronger. Truthfully, Jessup is probably right, but what costs does his leadership come with?
The two defendants are acquitted from the murder charges, but are dishonorably discharged from the Marines for “conduct unbefitting a Marine.” They realize that while they were not technically responsible for the death of Santiago, they did not act in the honorable manner of a Marine because they followed an order they should not have followed. They “needed to fight for those who couldn’t fight for themselves.” They needed to fight for Pfc. Santiago. Real honor 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.
"Semper Fidelis - Semper Fi." Marines.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Nov. 2012. <http://www.marines.com/history-heritage/principles-values>.
Sorkin, Aaron. A Few Good Men. New York: S. French, 1990. Print.
WriteWork contributors. "What is honor? An essay suitable for applications." WriteWork.com. WriteWork.com, 24 March, 2003. Web. 25 Nov.