Character, Dignity, and Self-Respect

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  • Topic: 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, Glory, Slavery
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  • Published : August 15, 2012
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Character, Dignity, and Self-Respect
Character, Dignity, and Self-Respect

8/12/2012

8/12/2012
Alina Campbell
This paper will summarize the movie Glory and relate one or two characters to Aristotle, Epictetus, and Saint Augustine on character, dignity, and self-respect.

Alina Campbell
This paper will summarize the movie Glory and relate one or two characters to Aristotle, Epictetus, and Saint Augustine on character, dignity, and self-respect.

The movie Glory is based on a true story about the Commander of the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry which was the first black regiment to be listed in the service of the United States. It is based on the letters by Col. Robert Shaw. Col. Shaw felt he was involved in something that he was not completely sure about, considering he had previously lost a lot of soldiers to battle. He was now faced with survivor’s guilt which he knew would heal in time. Shaw later became a mighty leader that lead the black regiment to take on the battle in Fort Wagner. Aristotle

Character is mental and moral qualities distinctive to an individual. Aristotle believed character to be neither a feeling or a capacity or a mere tendency to act in certain ways (Sommers & Sommers, 2010). He believed instead that character was a settled condition we are in when we are well off in relation to our feelings and our actions. The virtues of character are dispositions to act in a certain way in response to similar situations. Good conduct arises from habits that in turn can only be acquired by repeated action and correction. Col. Robert Gould Shaw fits Aristotle’s view of Character best in my opinion. He was not only the commander of the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, their voice. The black men that fought with Shaw were slaves that wanted to fight for their freedom. When Shaw was told of the United States Government planning to form this regiment of black soldiers he agreed to take the Commanding position. He then asked his best friend Major Cabot Forbes to fight along with him and Forbes accepted. At one point Shaw fights for these men to get the proper uniform and boots. He also refuses pay along with them after finding out that they are paid less than the white soldiers. Both Shaw and Forbes strongly connected with this group of men: the angry Private Trip (Denzel Washington); Private Jupiter Sharts (Jhine Kennedy); Corporal Thomas Searles (Andre Braugher), a very smart and educated man that grew up with Shaw and worked for Shaw’s father, and Sgt. Maj. John Rawlins (Morgan Freeman), a runaway slave who speaks with the voice of wisdom and reason. Dignity is the state of quality of being worthy of honor or respect. Aristotle’s view on dignity consists of the consciousness that we deserve honors, not in processing them. You cannot earn dignity through external awards; instead it is something you bestow upon yourself. “Dignity consists not in possessing recognition from others, but in consciousness that we deserve recognition from others” (Sommers &Sommers, 2010). The character played by Morgan Freeman, Rawlings, knew that being a slave was not worth much, so he decided to help Shaw fight the battle at Fort Wagner. Forbes also displayed dignity in the movie. Forbes was Col. Shaw’s best friend and is who told Col. Shaw of this regiment. Due to the type of relationship the two had, Col. Shaw asked Forbes to come along with him to prepare the black slaves. Forbes agreed and stood by Col. Shaw and these black men through the name calling, getting the proper shoes, and receiving their uniforms like the white soldiers had while fighting in the Civil War. Aristotle describes the position of character, dignity and self- respect as character being a state concern with choice, lying in a mean relative to us, that this is determined by reason and in such a way that a man of wisdom would determine it. It is a mean between two vices that...
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