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Honor Before Reason / Theatre

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  • This is the entire point of the plot of The Pirates of Penzance. In addition to the do-nothing-ness and ethics of the pirates, Frederic swears himself to killing all of his friends once his indenture is over because piracy is wrong. He interrupts the Major General's daughters stripping on the beach due to uh, honor. And when the Pirate King and Ruth reveal that due to his birthday, he's going to be indentured until 1940, they don't even try to enforce it on him — "we leave it to your honor."
    • Hell, it's right there the subtitle -- "The Slave of Duty"
    • Stripping? They intend to paddle in the water. So — take their shoes and socks off. Probably pull up their skirts a little, too. Then, he is a slave to duty.
      • But—bare ankles! Scandalous!
    • At the end the pirates themselves surrender when called upon to do so in Queen Victoria's name.
  • Arguably, this is the tragic flaw of Brutus in Julius Caesar - he doesn't want to accept that the people around him are not as idealistic and honorable as he is. Doing the honorable thing gets him in trouble when he spares Mark Antony and allows him to speak at Caesar's funeral, allowing Antony the chance to turn the opinion of the Roman public against Brutus with the famous "Friends, Romans, countrymen" speech.
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  • In Camelot, this is the fork Arthur finds himself caught on when Guinevere is caught with Lancelot. As Mordred says: "Let her die, your life is over; let her live, your life's a fraud. Which will it be — kill the queen or kill the law?"
  • Features prominently in Victor Hugo's play Hernani and its opera adaptation, Ernani—a rather extreme case of I Gave My Word.
  • Hamilton : Duels in general, but especially the three that happen onstage during Hamilton are one hundred percent unreasonable. No one actually thinks they're a good idea, but everyone has to do them. Truth in Television, at least for that time.
  • This is the central theme of A Man for All Seasons - Thomas More could easily save himself, but that would come at the cost of his integrity, something he is not willing to give.


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