Dueling According to Saviolo’s Honor and Honorable Quarrels: After the Lie is Given Gentlemen Should not Immediately Take up Arms

Image from Saviolo's PracticeTo date we have discussed giving the lie, how and why the man who receives the lie becomes the challenger, and some of the different kinds of lies.  Today I would like to begin our discussion of what happens once the lie is given.

Some might think that once the lie is given that a man should immediately run for his weapon.  But this is not so.  The basic presumption of the duel is that both men are gentlemen intent on proving and preserving their good reputations.  In his section entitled “That straightwaies upon the Lye, you must not take armes” Saviolo asserts that reason is the realm of gentlemen while violence is the realm of beasts.  A true gentleman should do everything within his power to prove his reputation and the truthfulness of his case.  The sword should not be the first thing he reaches for.  Rather he should endeavor to prove himself through other methods first.  If those avenues do not work then it may come to the sword, but that should be the last avenue he comes to.  While some might think that it shows weakness and would be a crime to even consider other option than the sword, Saviolo continues to assert that such thinking does not reflect well on those that believe it.  Rather than showing their honor and strength of character he maintains that such thinking makes them appear common, hot tempered, and imprudent.  A gentleman should have more control over himself and by pursuing other avenues for satisfaction before reaching for his sword he shows himself as a true gentleman and not a rash and unthinking brute.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.