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Here is a paragraph from Yukio Mishima's 憂国 - "Patriotism" which I understand relatively well, but miss the point of the whole scene. So I don't need a translation but an explanation about the subtext happening during this scene (I hope I can ask such a question here).

新婚旅行は非常時だというので遠慮をした。夜を過したのはこの家であった。床に入る前に、信二は軍刀を膝の前に置き、軍人らしい訓誡を垂れた。軍人の妻たる者は、いつなんどきでも良人の死を覚悟していなければならない。それが明日来るかもしれぬ。あさって来るかもしれぬ。いつ来てもうろたえぬ覚悟があるかと訊いたのである。麗子は立って箪笥の抽斗をあけ、もっとも大切な嫁入道具として母からいただいた懐剣を、良人と同じように、黙って自分の膝の前に置いた。これでみごとな黙契が成立ち、中尉は二度と妻の覚悟をためしたりすることがなかった。

The background is that the this couple is freshly married and moved for their first night together into this flat. My questions are specifically:

  1. What is the significance of the lieutenant putting his sword before his knees?

  2. Why does she imitate him with dagger?

  3. And why does that show her resolve?

  4. What would have been possible consequences for her if she hadn't imitated him with the dagger or wouldn't have shown her resolve in any other?

  5. Could she have shown her resolve in any other way than placing the dagger in front of her knees?

(The story is placed in the year 1936, at the February 26th incident, which is why national and traditional feelings have been very strong among the military. But even so, I have no idea if this was a kind of ideal behaviour of a wife during the time of the shogunate.)

Thank you very much for any clarifications.

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  1. He showed his resolution as a soldier that he was not afraid of his own death.
  2. Because she wanted to show her resolution as a soldier's wife that she was not afraid of his and her own death.
  3. Because he knows her resolution as well as his resolution.
  4. He would reprove her resolution.
  5. I'm not sure of that. However it was the best way to show her resolution. I think she implied that she would follow him to the grave by doing that.
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  1. By showing his sword to his bride, he wants to impress on her the importance or solemness of his duty as a military officer.

  2. What she wants to say (without words) is that she is also ready to die for the honor of a wife of a samurai.

  3. She showed that her love is profound enough to share fate with him.

  4. Don't know, but at least it would destroy the scheme of this novel.

  5. A bad question...She could have done anything else (and I think Shinji didn't particularly expect that she would take out a dagger, it seems to me.)

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