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O Captain My Captain

By Schnick May 04, 2007 581 Words
Jonathan Schnicker
Mr. Jennings
Comp. 2
5/4/06
Loyalty and Integrity
Integrity is a character trait. It is the willingness to do what is right even when no one is looking. It is the "moral compass" the inner voice. . A person of integrity possesses moral courage and does what is right even if the personal cost is high. The drama; A Few Good Men and the poem; O Captain My Captain by Walt Whitman are two different genres with the same theme of integrity and loyalty. Loyalty is primarily a function of trust, and that trust is usually given if integrity is perceived in the object of one's trust. Although they have the same theme the themes use or way in which the theme portrayed in each artistic work is different. The diverse definitions of the themes loyalty and integrity are put into play in order to fit the different roles they presume in both artistic works.

The Origins of Totalitarianism "Himmler's ingenious watchword for his SS-men was ‘My honor is my loyalty.'" American society has the notion of the dedicated military professional as one who gives his unthinking consent to all orders issued to him, whose very honor is a function of his unquestioning obedience (Air Force Academy). In A Few Good Men the loyalty and integrity are almost contradictory to each other. The young Navy officer/attorney has a history of being lazy and choosing play over work until a case comes p that challenges his "loyalty" and integrity. Cruise playing the young lawyer, finds evidence that could convict the officers that are training to convict the two marines for the murder. This questions Cruise's faith as an officer for doing what is not only morally right, but also his faith falters in the thought of going up against his commander in court. He feels he must obey the orders of a person of higher rank that he is supposed to trust, on the presumption that the orders are legally and morally correct.

The Oxford English Dictionary defines trust as "confidence in or reliance on some quality or attribute of a person or thing." As an officer, in moral relationships with others, you should see and question the conduct from an impersonal point of view and apply general rules impartially to yourself and to others; you should make aware of and take in account of the wants, expectations, and reactions of others (Air Force Academy). This is why Cruise is in question of himself. He is confused on his personal definition of loyalty. The loyalty is always with out question to the country and not to the individual person or officer. Moral integrity in this situation will always lead a good officer in the right direction.

In O Captain My Captain Walt Whitman the author is the man that contains the loyalty instead of the character. However, instead of a man questioning the integrity of another man and then questioning your loyalty, Whitman Write of a man than country in which he admires so much. In the time of Whitman's best poetry the civil war was at its peak. After the civil war the night that Lincoln was assassinated Whitman had a dream of a boat pulling into harbor in full sail. Thus giving him the inspiration to write the poem O Captain My Captain with Lincoln is the captain. Whitman was filled with the same perception of American attributes such as,

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