Honor In The Iliad

1051 Words5 Pages
Similar to The Iliad, fate, honor, and shame are themes present in Chushingura. However, while The Iliad relies heavily on the role of fate, and less on honor and shame, Chushingura does the opposite and places less emphasis on fate and more on honor and shame. Honor is an extremely important aspect of Chushingura and most of the movie deals with honor in one way or another. One of the first examples is with Lord Asano. In the 18th century, political corruption was prevalent and this often included bribing officials and the higher ups in order to gain favor. Lord Asano refused to partake, saying that his honor prevented him from participating in bribery. Even in the face of hardships, at the hands of his superior Lord Kira, Lord Asano still…show more content…
Hara-kiri allowed for samurai to avoid shameful situations, such as capture by the enemy, by choosing the way and time they died (Ikegami 1361). The control of their final moments allowed them to avoid being shamed, and die with their honor. Hara-kiri was also used as a way to repent for shameful acts. In Chushingura, young samurai Sampei accidentally kills a civilian while travelling. The shameful act could only be righted by Hara-kiri, so in order to set things right Sampei was forced to kill himself, and was able to die with some honor. Shame is also prevalent in the movie as shown by people shaming others, or attempting to save others from facing shame. Lord Kira feels as if he is being shamed by Lord Asano with his refusal to give adequate gifts, or bribes. In turn Lord Asano brings shame upon his whole clan by attacking Kira while defending his honor. One of Asano’s vassals, Oishi, tries to protect his wife and family from the shame of his future actions by divorcing her. In these examples, the emphasis on honor and shame in the samurai culture are displayed by the actions of the samurai in the film. While honor and shame are well developed aspects of the film and of samurai culture as a whole, fate is less developed. While still present, it is more of an undertone; exactly the opposite of how fate is presented in The Illiad. One example of fate is the fate of samurais themselves. When accepting the position, it is understood that their death will most likely come by the hands of an enemy, or by one’s self with hara-kiri. The fate of a samurai is sealed with the acceptance of their
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