Honor in Thorstein The Staff-Struck

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Honor in Thorstein The Staff-Struck

Honor is something that is earned, but it must also be defended in order to be

upheld in the eyes of all. In “Thorstein The Staff-Struck” one’s respect is based on their

honor alone. Honor is the essence of a life worth living. In this story, a life without honor

means that the life is worthless. Death is better than having no honor. Men will easily

give their lives without second thought to earn, and protect it. Honor’s role in “Thorstein

the Staff-Struck” takes on several roles, but all of them are to achieve one common goal.

The various roles take on the common goal of achieving honor itself.

Thorstein’s nick-name “the Staff-Struck” is a strain on his honor because his

masculinity is being questioned after his first bout with Thord. Thorstein’s first reaction

to the blow to his head by Thord’s staff is not thought of as being honorable. He didn’t

respond in a way that would defend his honor. He needed to stand up for himself to

accomplish that trying task.. His response to Thord’s blow was thought of as a cowards

response. That meant his honor had been shamed by his own action, or lack of the correct

actions. After that, Thorstein’s integrity was belittled in the eyes of others. One’s honor

lies not only in the eyes of one’s self, but also in the words, and eyes of all present, and

around. Thorstein had to avenge his honor in the eyes of the spectators for himself.

Thorstein’s father prompted his vengeance though. Thorstein could not simply sit back,

and be humiliated by his own father. That was just too much for him to deal with, nor did

he want to try. He knew he must honor his father by bringing, and restoring honor to

himself. His response, although late, was honorable. Timing is a crucial part of

vengeance in this story though. Bijarni, the ruler of Hof, had a different role in society,

but his honor was still of great importance. Bijarni’s honor was questioned by his

servants, his wife, and others because they felt his reverence had been stained by

Thorstein. His lack of action against Thorstein made him weak in the eyes of others. He

had been challenged, but he had not yet accepted the challenge. When honor is seen as

challenged there must be action taken or soundness will be questioned. Thorhall and

Thorvald questioned Bijarni’s honor in gossip, and in rumor. Bijarni then instructed the

two to leave, and return with Thorstein’s head, as he can not stand by while his servants
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