That said...no one is ever going to make me understand any warrior code that focuses on honor, revenge and sacrifice. Honor, when one has done something that requires redemption. Sacrifice, when necessary. But focusing one's entire life on avenging a slight to one's honor, then ending one's life in the attempt to rectify it or ending one's life once it has been achieved because it has been achieved...forget it. Ugly macho delusion, and I don't care whether it's in Asian martial culture or the American frontier or in service to the Church or what. You fight the good fight and if you lose some, you stop and take stock of everything that's still good in the world. Sharpe gets this; he takes some big risks for honor but also because it's his only means of advancement, and he's not suicidal -- he wants eventually to retire to a better life.
On a completely unrelated note, I enjoyed these comments a lot from azimuth's LJ:
Poem for the day, one of my all-time favorites:
When I heard the learn'd astronomer,
When the proofs, the figures, were ranged in columns
When I was shown the charts and diagrams, to add, divide,
and measure them,
When I sitting heard the astronomer where he lectured with
much applause in the lecture-room,
How soon unaccountable I became tired and sick,
Till rising and gliding out I wander'd off by myself,
In the mystical moist night-air, and from time to time,
Look'd up in perfect silence at the stars.