How are honor and duty reflected in The Bronze Bow?

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rmhope eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In The Bronze Bow the character traits of honor and devotion to one's duty are portrayed both positively and negatively by Daniel and Rosh, respectively. Daniel shows his devotion to his duty in several ways. When his grandmother dies, he knows he must take care of his sister Leah, so he leaves his home on the mountain and lives in the village with her. This is a great sacrifice to him because he has devoted his life to the overthrow of Rome, and fulfilling his duty toward Leah interferes with his personal goals. As much as Daniel hates Romans, he still serves them in the blacksmith shop. Simon told him that a condition of taking over his shop was that he would need to serve Romans sometimes, and although Daniel balked at the thought, he complies as part of his duty to Simon, his village, and Leah. Daniel dutifully takes care of Samson on the mountain and Leah in the village. When Joel is captured, Daniel feels it is his duty to rescue him. All of these ways that Daniel performs his duty show that he is honorable, but especially his unflagging and dangerous efforts to release Joel from the Romans. Putting one's own life at risk goes beyond performing a duty into the realm of displaying honor.

Rosh, on the other hand, does not have the same sense of duty or honor. He does not consider it his duty to pay his own way or provide for his followers; rather, he steals from the local farmers and from travelers to maintain his band. He repeatedly calls Daniel's honorable behavior—such as sparing the old man's life—"soft," showing he has no honor himself. And when Joel is captured by the Romans while performing an assignment for Rosh, Rosh feels no sense of duty to attempt to free him. This lack of honor in Rosh, so opposed to Daniel's own convictions, is what spurs Daniel to finally renounce Rosh as his leader.

Daniel's display of honor and devotion to duty is made more obvious by the contrast with Rosh, who lacks these important qualities.