In light of this evidence, it would be more helpful to regard honor as
one of many discourses and tools which certain groups and individuals select to justify their behavior or strengthen their authority, even if they do not always act upon it.
One's word remained inherent in the code of honor precisely because honor as a political and moral consideration required, even more than before, a public statement of inte nt.
Moreover, James points out that honor is a public commitment through the "freely given word," and that the significance of a given honorable situation arises "out of the nature of honor as a public code, the public status distinguishing it from a private morality." 
Hamlet, burdened with the revenge of his father's murder, attempts to use the violent, medieval code of honor as he begins to make public oaths.
Finally, Claudius overtly appeals to Laertes' sense of chivalric honor as the king manipulates Laertes into killing Hamlet.