In "Just Lather, That's All," would the barber have been a hero or a coward had he killed the captain?
To answer this question, it is important to consider it from different perspectives. From the perspective of the rebels, for example, killing Captain Torres would make the barber a hero. This is because the captain has killed many of their comrades and, as a result, they view him as their enemy. At one point in the story, the barber alludes to this heroic status when he is considering killing the captain:
"And then on the other side. "The avenger of us all. A name to remember. (And here they would mention my name.) He was the town barber. No one knew he was defending our cause."
In contrast, some people, like the captain's men, might call the barber a coward for killing Captain Torres. After all, only a coward would kill an unarmed man while giving him a shave. At the end of the story, the captain appears to judge the barber as a coward when he reveals that he knew he might be killed:
"They told me that you'd kill me. I came to find out."
So, in an ironic twist, the captain views the barber as a coward, even though he has, in fact, saved his life.