Duty – An act or a course of action that one should or must do. A moral obligation. A task assigned to or demanded of one. – American Heritage Dictionary
Duty is another main theme in my novels. Ramblings of the Spirit may be summarized (thematic) with this line – When destiny must fight to meet love, duty stands in the way.
As the above definition suggests, many times our duty goes beyond a task that is demanded of us, crossing into moral territory, and guided by the weight of our beliefs. It transcends the material into the spiritual, and it is then, when duty is bound by the material but being called into action by a higher or spiritual belief or value system that conflict is born. What a person (or a character) does to solve this internal conflict and find balance (or not) determines not only the course of action, but future events. It is then that true heroes emerge, and the embodiment of duty becomes reality.
Many times, duty and sacrifice go hand in hand; other times, duty goes beyond sacrifice, reaching the realms of an ideal that becomes more important than the sacrifice itself. The sacrifice becomes a vessel, a vehicle to fulfill duty. Understanding how our mind works through these scenarios, while relating it to the material and spiritual perspectives, will help us create more complex characters that become more real and human as the story progresses.
In short, we might have never been in the character’s shoes, but that does not prevent us as writers, to embrace the character’s psyche or transcend into their spiritual realm/value system. As writers, it is our duty.