Pride, Honor and Survival in The Last Samurai and Hidalgo

Pride, Honor and Survival in The Last Samurai and Hidalgo

Length: 1234 words (3.5 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Excellent

Open Document

Essay Preview

More ↓
Pride, Honor and Survival in The Last Samurai and Hidalgo

In the 2004 movie, Hidalgo, the story of how a cowboy and cavalry dispatch rider, billed as the “world’s greatest endurance rider,” is challenged to compete for pride, honor, and his own survival in a 3,000 mile long race known as the Ocean of Fire. Likewise, the story of The Last Samurai depicts how a civil war era captain is charged with the responsibility of training a “modern” Japanese military force, and is captured by Samurai warriors in a battle to quell the Samurai rebellion. While he is being held by his captors, he learns the ways of the Samurai and must use his new skills to fight for his, as well as Japan’s pride, honor, and cultural survival. This essay will attempt to draw similarities between Hidalgo and The Last Samurai by examining the individual feats accomplished by the movie’s main characters as well as explain how these seemingly dissimilar movie plots are actually quite similar.

The movie Hidalgo tells the story of Frank T. Hopkins, cowboy and cavalry dispatch rider. During his career, Hopkins and his horse Hidalgo have competed in many American endurance races, and Hopkins has become honorably billed as the world’s greatest endurance rider. Riding as a dispatch rider for the cavalry, one of the main character conflicts of the movie unfolds. Frank T. Hopkins, born to a Lakota Indian woman is half Lakota Indian, but has a hard time dealing with this aspect of his heritage. The conflict comes when he rides a dispatch for the U.S. Calvary unknowingly delivering the order to disarm the Lakota Indians, and inadvertently causes the Battle of Wounded Knee, where the Lakota are massacred by the cavalry.

Knowing that he delivered the order sealing the fate of his people, Hopkins falls into horrible depression, taking to heavy drinking. Because of his reputation as the ‘world’s greatest endurance rider,’ Hopkins joins Buffalo Bills Wild West Show, and is haunted by the nightmare of the massacre.

In an example pride, honor and survival, Hopkins is challenged to overcome his depression and self-pity and enter a race, a 3,000 mile survival race across the Arabian Desert, known as the Ocean of Fire.

The Ocean of Fire, held annually for more than a 1,000 years, is an endurance race like no other. Beyond being a race for pride and honor, rider’s survival skills are tested in the 3,000 mile Ocean of Fire.

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"Pride, Honor and Survival in The Last Samurai and Hidalgo." 11 Dec 2018

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Essay about Honor in the Iliad and Antigone

- The notion of honor is prevalent throughout the Iliad and Antigone. Both texts demonstrate that honor is essential to Greek heroes because honor is the foundation of the society and family. Homer and Sophocles clearly show that honor guides people’s actions and responses and decides the fate of themselves and others. Both authors also place emphasis on the importance of proper burial because it is a strong indication of honor to the deceased and the deceased’s family. As can be seen in the Iliad and Antigone, the aim of every Greek hero is to gain everlasting honor because it ensures his place in the social memory of his society resounding even after death....   [tags: Honor, Iliad, Antigone,]

Research Papers
991 words (2.8 pages)

The Treaty Of Guadalupe Hidalgo Essays

- It is my honor to speak before the House of Representatives and Senate and officially state that Mexico and the United States have signed the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. This treaty ends the Mexican-American War as Mexico has agreed to cede all regions that rightfully belong to the United States of America. The Mexican-American War started in April of 1846 and ended yesterday in February of 1848. I consider the war against Mexico as a conflict that largely benefited the United States. President James Polk and all of my fellow US Congressman were reasonable and justifiable to dictate that Mexico obstructed and interfered with the freedom and rights of the citizens in our beautiful nation, sp...   [tags: United States, Texas, New Mexico, Rio Grande]

Research Papers
1511 words (4.3 pages)

The Treaty Of Guadalupe Hidalgo Essay

- Following the defeat of the Mexican army and the fall of Mexico City, in September 1847, the Mexican government surrendered and peace negotiations began. The war officially ended with the February 2, 1848, signing in Mexico of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. Whether the treaty itself was a just conclusion to end the war, is up to everyone to decide, but those decisions mark whether we support or decline the treaty. I do not believe this was a just conclusion for the weight of benefits and positive outcomes were with the U.S....   [tags: United States, Mexico, Mexico City]

Research Papers
1422 words (4.1 pages)

Honor in the Play Titus Andronicus Essay

- With so many words making up the content of plays, it is difficult for one, single word to make much of an impact. However, the word ‘honor’ does just that in the play Titus Andronicus. Honor means different things to different people, and this is quite evident in the tragedy that is Titus Andronicus. The definition of honor has changed throughout the history of man. The character for which the play is named, Titus, puts his honor and the honor of Rome before anything else. In the play, honor is used as justification for wrongful actions....   [tags: honor, titus andronicus, shakespeare]

Research Papers
834 words (2.4 pages)

Essay on The Value of Honor

- The Value of Honor            There is a priceless respect that everyone in the world possesses, and that is the respect of a person’s honor. A person’s honor is something that can not be bought, sold, or traded it’s something that must be gained by the respect of your peers. An example of how honor is seen in everyday life in through a persons word. A persons honor is supported by their word, and if they do not uphold their word then they are left with nothing.      To try and explain the personal trait of honor is something that can not be done in a few words, or a sentence....   [tags: Personal Respect Honor]

Research Papers
767 words (2.2 pages)

Essay on Honor Killings

- Honor Killings Human rights violations against women have, for too long, been denied the attention and concern of international organizations, national governments, traditional human rights groups and the press. Meanwhile, hundreds of millions of girls and women around the world continue to endure debilitating and often fatal human rights abuses. These are only a few instances of abuse which occur every single day all around the world. Human rights violations against women must be documented, publicized and stopped....   [tags: Violence Death Murder Honor Women Essays]

Free Essays
2129 words (6.1 pages)

Magua, the Byronic Hero of The Last of the Mohicans Essay

- Magua, the Byronic Hero of The Last of the Mohicans        Traditionally, heroes represented the ideal member of society, reflecting the moral compass of a culture. The "last great heroic tradition in our literature," the Byronic hero, rebels against society, questioning morality (Thorslev 185). The modern hero, or anti-hero, internalizes the struggle for reconciliation. Traditional heroes represent social order, Byronic heroes represent social rebellion, and modern heroes represent social upheaval....   [tags: Last of the Mohicans Essays]

Research Papers
2688 words (7.7 pages)

Two Personalities in My Last Duchess Essay

- Two Personalities in My Last Duchess The poem "My Last Duchess" is about a powerful Duke, and his beautiful, flirtatious wife who has two different personalities, one that was reality and the other was the lady in the painting. The poem begins and ends with him mourning the loss of his deceased Duchess, but from the way that the mighty Duke speaks, he knows more about her death than he leads us to believe. The Duke chooses his word very carefully, when he talks to his friend about the painting of his wife....   [tags: My Last Duchess Essays]

Free Essays
525 words (1.5 pages)

Essay on the Two Types of Pride in Pride and Prejudice

- Two Types of Pride in Pride and Prejudice       In the novel Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, there is a stark contrast between the pride displayed by the characters Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy and Mr. Bennet. Austen demonstrates the importance of possesing the "correct" pride and makes this the main theme throughout the novel.   Pride may be considered as either an attribute or flaw. To posses pride as an attribute is to have self-respect, honor, and integrity. To posses pride as a flaw is to demonstrate arrogant or disdainful conduct and haughtiness....   [tags: Pride Prejudice Essays]

Research Papers
1199 words (3.4 pages)

Essay about My Last Duchess

- Robert Browning is the author of "My Last Duchess" and he shows the audience how it is a dramatic monologue. In a class lecture, the professor had mentioned that the poem is set in the 15th century. During that time, it was common for a young woman to be arranged in a marriage. As the poem unfolds, the audience learns the speaker of the poem, Duke Ferrara, is talking to another male character and begins to tell the story of his previous wife. As they are standing in front of the portrait of the Duke's last wife, now dead, the Duke talks about her imperfections....   [tags: Robert Browning, My Last Duchess]

Free Essays
1085 words (3.1 pages)

Related Searches

Hopkins has been invited to the race by a rich Sheik who wishes to test the title of “world’s greatest endurance rider.” To win the race, Hopkins must compete against the world’s greatest Arabian horses and Bedouin riders determined to prevent a first ever foreigner allowed in the race from finishing.
Similarly, the story of The Last Samurai tells a story of pride, honor, and survival.
It's 1876, and Captain Nathan Algren is an alcoholic wreck of a man. A veteran of the Civil War as well as General Custer's Indian campaigns, he drifts from one situation to another apparently looking for work but really seeking refuge from his inner demons of slaughtering innocent women and children.

Opportunity knocks in the form of an old Army acquaintance Colonel Ben Bagley, who has accepted work with a Japanese businessman named Omura. Omura has been charged with recruiting American war vets as military advisors to a new modern Japanese Army. Emperor Meiji, under advice from Omura and other parties, is interested in modernizing his nation's military with rifles and other armaments which he is told will be the key to Japan’s survival.

In order to unify the nation, the new Japanese army must first take care of civil dissidence within Japan. The samurai, led by chieftain Katsumoto, are violently opposing the invasion of Western culture into their islands. Under American command, the ill-trained soldiers are foolishly sent into combat against the samurai. During the resulting massacre Algren is captured and taken to the samurai's village.
During the course of the winter, Algren, in a show of survival, slowly gains the trust of his captors and in turn is given free roam over the village. For pride and honor, he begins to train. Depicting the pride and honor of the Japanese people, Algren is actually given food and shelter by Taka, the wife of one of the samurai Algren killed during battle.

Katsumoto meanwhile seeks to learn about his enemy, and begins to respect Algren as a fellow warrior. Also interested in the American is Katsumoto's son Nobutada, intrigued by Western culture. Algren finds the first peace he has known in a long time, and begins to adapt to the ways of the samurai and even learns to speak Japanese. Proving he is honorable, he acts as a father to Taka's children, learns to sword fight with a kitana blade and begins to respect the culture that he originally sought to destroy. In the ultimate show of pride, honor, and survival, Algren, who was once close to death, now embraces his new place in the samurai world, and will soon come to the aid of the samurai, and ultimately the Japanese people and their culture.
During Algren's absence the Japanese Army has had better opportunity to prepare themselves, and time is soon approaching that will determine the fate of the samurai and the future of Japan.

These two stories strongly portray how a man at the bottom of the barrel can overcome adversity to survive for pride and honor. In both Hidalgo and in The Last Samurai, the main characters, Hopkins and Algren, are at ultimate lows when the proposition of easy money inadvertently places them in life-altering situations, where they must prove their pride and honor through their ability to survive in a foreign land with a foreign culture.

Annotated Bibliography

The Last Samurai. Dir. Edward Zwick. Perfs. Tom Cruise, Ken Watanabe. DVD.
Warner Bros. 2003.

The Last Samurai is the story of Nathan Algren, a civil war era captain in the U.S. military and also the Custer Indian Battles. Algren is recruited to help build and train a new, modern Japanese army, and during a battle against the new army and the samurai, Algren is captured by the samurai. While he is a prisoner, Algren gains the trust of his captors and begins to learn and train in the ways of the samurai. He learns of the samurai culture and embraces his new place. Overcoming adversity, Algren must come to the aid of the samurai in a battle for the future of the samurai way of life, and for the future of Japan.

Hidalgo. Dir. Joe Johnston. Perfs. Viggo Mortenson, Omar Sharif. DVD. Touchstone
Pictures. 2004

Hidalgo is the story of Frank T. Hopkins, born to a Lakota Indian woman, he is a cowboy and dispatch rider for the U.S. cavalry. Riding a dispatch, he unknowingly causes the massacre of Wounded Knee, and the destruction of the Lakota people. Hiding in the nightmare in which he lives, he and his horse Hidalgo are challenged by a rich Sheik to compete for Hopkins title as the “world’s greatest endurance rider” and to enter a 3,000 mile race across the Arabian Desert known as the Ocean of Fire.


Hidalgo. Dir. Joe Johnston. Perfs. Viggo Mortenson, Omar Sharif. DVD. Touchstone
Pictures. 2004

The Last Samurai. Dir. Edward Zwick. Perfs. Tom Cruise, Ken Watanabe. DVD.
Warner Bros. 2003.
Return to