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This is my tribute to the Duke drawn from his character in the movie The Horse Soldiers . Few celebrities achieve the level of iconic status that John Wayne has. For many John Wayne represents the quintessential American hero and for some he has become a symbol of an idealized America. The qualities that are most often associated with him are things like courage, determination, fairness, integrity and patriotism. The quality that he embodies so well in many of his films that really resonates with me though is personal conflict. For example, in the movie u/u John Wayne portrays a Union calvary commander sent behind Confederate lines to destroy railroad lines and disrupt movement of Confederate supplies. Wayne portrays his character as a reluctant participant in the war and a former railroad engineer who's passion lies more in that which he is destroying than the justification for its destructon. His character laments the loss of life, the sufferring, and the destruction that he feels compelled to wreak upon his enemy. Yet he is determined to complete his mission regardless of the personal anguish he suffers at the hands of his own success because he feels that the quickest way to end the war is to win the war. John Waynes ability to embody this conflict and portray it is what I appreciate most about his acting and his portrayal of the American character.
November 27th, 2008
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