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Volume 5896
Core Values of Tarzan Untamed

By Jess Terrell
An ERBapa No. 134 Reprint


Tarzan the Untamed is largely regarded as one of Burroughs’ best works.  Our hero is driven by loss, anger, passion, and revenge.  He is relentless in pursuit of those who stole the lives of his friends and his beloved Jane for whom he had good reason to believe was also dead.

Anyone experiencing this loss in real-life would be at least tempted to seek revenge. Understandably overcome by powerful emotions Tarzan approaches this challenge enacting “Jungle Justice” on those responsible.   In the jungle there is no trial beyond Tarzan’s judgment.

Furthermore Tarzan’s other home, England, was at war (WWI) with the Germans who wrecked Tarzan’s plantation home and took lives.  Therefore a case of mistaken identity confusing Major Schneider for  Captain Schneider was of small concern to Tarzan.  Things happen in war.

Recognizing Tarzan’s revenge driven campaign the objective of this document is to identify the hero characteristics of Tarzan by examining his core values during this stressful period.

The basic core values defined by the U.S. Marine Corp will be the characteristics we seek.


There is no intention in this document to judge or criticize Burroughs’ handling of the Tarzan character or the events depicted.  Most definitely there is no intention to disparage the U.S. Marine Corps or any branch or any member of the U.S.A. military.  The U.S. Marine Corp is held by this writer as a fine example of heroic standards with core values suitable as the benchmark for discussion


The Marine Corps values of honor, courage, and commitment build the foundation of the character of an individual Marine as well as the foundation of the Corps.   The U.S. Marine Corps is the most respected and revered fighting force on earth and recognized world-wide as warrior-elite.
Honor, courage, and commitment will serve as the benchmark for this evaluation and as the basis for the “Hero Factor” analysis.

Each of the above definitions are broken down into individual line items, that I have termed “Hero Factors”, for analysis and evaluation.  To better clarify Honor, Courage, and Commitment some additional Hero Factors are included as found in other reference material.  It could be said the additional Hero Factors inflict some redundancy on the analysis criteria but if such an error is made it is at least in the name of thoroughness.

In this analysis a value of zero or one is assigned to each Hero Factor so it could be used in analyzing the Heroic characteristics of a passage or an entire novel.  Developing a mathematical ranking could permit the total Hero Factor for a book or character to be compared against another book or character.

This evaluation is based on the judgment of this writer and is intended for fun and discussion.  The reader can then adapt this technique, adjust the process as they like to evaluate Tarzan the Untamed or any book(s).

H1.) Honor requires the ultimate standard in ethical and moral conduct.
H2.) Honor requires that one must never lie, never cheat, never steal.
H3.) Honor requires an uncompromising code of personal integrity.
H4.) Honor requires a respect of human dignity.
H5.) Honor requires a respect and concern for each other.
H6.) Honor represents the maturity, dedication, trust, and dependability to act responsibly.
H7.) Honor requires accountability for one's own  actions.
H8.)  Honor requires holding others accountable for their actions.
H9.) Honor requires one to fulfill their obligations.

U1.) Courage is mental, moral, and physical strength.
U2.) Courage provides the means to endure the challenges of combat.
U3.) Courage provides the fortitude to master fear.
U4.) Courage provides the spirit to do what is right.
U5.) Courage inspires adherence to a higher standard of personal conduct.
U6.) Courage provides confidence to make tough decisions under stress and pressure.
U7.) Courage provides the inner strength to enable the extra step.
U8.) Courage is honor in action.
U9.) Courage is moral strength.
U10.) Courage is the will to heed the inner voice of conscience.
U11.) Courage is the will to do what is right regardless of the conduct of others.
U12.) Courage is mental discipline.
U13.) Courage is an adherence to a higher standard.
U14.) Courage empowers willingness to stand for what is right in spite of adverse circumstances.
U15.) Courage through history has sustained Marines through chaos, perils, and hardships.

M1.) Total dedication to corps and country 24 hours a day.
M2.) Spirit of determination and dedication within the force of arms.
M3.) Professionalism and mastery of the art of war.
M4.) Highest order of discipline for organization and self.
M5.) Pride.
M6.) Concern for others.
M7.) Unrelenting determination to achieve a standard of excellence in every endeavor.
M8.) All for one, one for all.
M9.) A combination of (1) selfless determination and (2) a relentless dedication to excellence.
M10.) Marines never give up and never give in.
M11.) Marines never willingly accept second best.  Excellence is always the goal.
M12.) Intelligence and adaptability.
M13.) Once a Marine, Always a Marine. (family, team, tribe, country)

Any evaluation of Tarzan’s performance will always get high marks for strength and courage.  Rare and unheard of is the story where Tarzan’s strength and courage has failed him.  But the secondary question is how well does Tarzan use those gifts and is the use appropriate.  Another Hero Factor included with the Marine’s adaptability is intelligence.  Anyone who can teach himself to read English and by the age of 24 (more or less) learns to speak fluent Mangani, French, English, and Waziri is clearly intelligent.

CHAPTER 3 "In the German Lines"

These selections from Chapter three illustrate Tarzan’s mindset after he has left Schneider to his fate in the prior chapter.  From Tarzan the Untamed, chapter 3, EXCERPT

Tarzan was not yet fully revenged. There were many millions of Germans yet alive--enough to keep Tarzan pleasantly occupied for the balance of his life, and yet not enough, should he kill them all, to recompense him for the great loss he had suffered--nor could the death of all those million Germans bring back his loved one.

. . . after the death of his wife, the one strong tie that had held him to civilization, he had renounced all mankind, considering himself no longer man, but ape.

. . . more and more the ape-man found himself thinking of the English soldiers fighting against heavy odds and especially of the fact that it was Germans who were beating them. The thought made him lower his head and growl and it worried him not a little--a bit, perhaps, because he was finding it difficult to forget that he was an Englishman when he wanted only to be an ape. And at last the time came when he could not longer endure the thought of Germans killing Englishmen while he hunted in safety a bare march away.

. . . he set out in the direction of the German camp, no well-defined plan formulated; but with the general idea that once near the field of operations he might find an opportunity to harass the German command as he so well knew how to do.

Thus Tarzan takes over a sniper’s nest and with rifle harasses the Germans.

In this evaluation Tarzan earned a point for intelligence by finding a way behind enemy lines without getting a scratch.   Half of the 20 points earned in this excerpt  were in the commitment area.

CHAPTER 4 "When the Lion Fed"
Releasing a hungry lion into the German’s trenches, as described in chapter 4, is (I think) one of the most exciting sequences in all of Burroughs books.   Likewise, the George Wilson cover for Tarzan #163 is perhaps the best of the fine Gold Key collection.

From Tarzan the Untamed, Chapter 4, EXCERPT:

And when at last they reached the trench, those farthest on the left of the advancing Britishers heard a machine gun sputter suddenly before them and saw a huge lion leap over the German parados with the body of a screaming Hun soldier between his jaws and vanish into the shadows of the night, while squatting upon a traverse to their left was Tarzan of the Apes with a machine gun before him with which he was raking the length of the German trenches.
In this evaluation Tarzan gets his highest courage rating, total of 14 and his highest commitment rating with a total of 13.    This action required going behind enemy lines, accompanied by a  hungry and angry lion, and  hand-to-hand combat in the trenches punctuated with a machine gun. Assigning only one point for each Hero Factor  just did not seem enough for Tarzan’s battle in the trenches.  The grand total of 29 is the highest of these five excerpts.

CHAPTER 6 "Vengeance and Mercy"

Still seeking revenge Tarzan catches up to Hauptmann Fritz Schneider in Wilhelmstal.

From Tarzan the Untamed, Chapter 6, EXCERPT:

Tarzan grasped the man by the throat and drew his hunting knife. Schneider's back was against the wall so that though his knees wobbled he was held erect by the ape-man. Tarzan brought the sharp point to the lower part of the German's abdomen.

"Thus you slew my mate," he hissed in a terrible voice.  "Thus shall you die!"

The girl staggered forward. "Oh, God, no!" she cried.  "Not that. You are too brave--you cannot be such a beast as that!"

Tarzan turned at her. "No," he said, "you are right, I cannot do it--I am no German," and he raised the point of his blade and sunk it deep into the putrid heart of Hauptmann Fritz Schneider, putting a bloody period to the Hun's last gasping cry: "I did not do it! She is not--"

Then Tarzan turned toward the girl and held out his hand.  "Give me my locket," he said.

She pointed toward the dead officer. "He has it." Tarzan searched him and found the trinket. "Now you may give me the papers," he said to the girl, and without a word she handed him a folded document.

For a long time he stood looking at her before he spoke again.

"I came for you, too," he said. "It would be difficult to take you back from here and so I was going to kill you, as I have sworn to kill all your kind; but you were right when you said that I was not such a beast as that slayer of women. I could not slay him as he slew mine, nor can I slay you, who are a woman."

Because  Bertha Kirchner is a woman and despite believing she was a spy,  Tarzan spared Ms. Kirchner  getting his highest Honor rating with six points.

CHAPTER 8, “Tarzan and the Great Apes”

Bertha Kircher stumbled onto a tribe of the Mangani who were about to commence the Dum-Dum in Chapter 8 entitled “Tarzan and the Great Apes”,  EXCERPT:
"I am Tarzan of the Apes!" screamed the ape-man. "Shall Tarzan dance in peace or shall Tarzan kill?''

"I kill! I kill! I kill!" shrieked Go-lat.

With the quickness of a cat Tarzan swung the king ape over one hip and sent him sprawling to the ground. "I am Tarzan, King of all the Apes!" he shouted. "Shall it be peace?"

Go-lat, infuriated, leaped to his feet and charged again, shouting his war cry: "I kill! I kill! I kill!" and again Tarzan met him with a sudden hold that the stupid bull, being ignorant of, could not possibly avert

Tarzan, turning with the other apes toward the cause of the interruption, saw the girl, recognized her and also her peril. Here again might she die at the hands of others; but why consider it! He knew that he could not permit it, and though the acknowledgment shamed him, it had to be admitted.

"This is Tarzan's she," he said. "Do not harm her." It was the only way he could make them understand that they must not slay her. He was glad that she could not interpret the words. It was humiliating enough to make such a statement to wild apes about this hated enemy.

So once again Tarzan of the Apes was forced to protect a Hun. Growling, he muttered to himself in extenuation:

"She is a woman and I am not a German, so it could not be otherwise!"

Even though two incidents were included this excerpt gets the lowest rating.  Tarzan could have killed Go-lat for surely Go-lat would have killed Tarzan.  But Tarzan persisted with non-lethal techniques until finally Go-lat relented permitting the ape-man to join the tribe in the dance.  Later Tarzan could have rid himself of Bertha Kirchner, who he was sure was a spy, but instead he protected her from the mangani.  The courage rating made up half of the 17 points awarded.

CHAPTER 13: "Usanga’s Reward"
Aerial Barn-storming provided thrills and chills in the real world of the 1920s.    So did the description provided by Burroughs in Chapter 13, EXCERPT:
All Tarzan knew was what he saw-- Sergeant Usanga attempting to fly away with Bertha Kircher.  Already the [airplane] was slowly leaving the ground. In a moment more it would rise swiftly out of reach. At first Tarzan thought of fitting an arrow to his bow and slaying Usanga, but as quickly he abandoned the idea because he knew that the moment the pilot was slain the machine, running wild, would dash the girl to death among the trees. There was but one way in which he might hope to succor her.
Usanga did not see [Tarzan], being too intent upon the unaccustomed duties of a pilot, but the blacks across the meadow saw him and they ran forward with loud and savage cries and menacing rifles to intercept him. They saw a giant white man leap from the branches of a tree to the turf and race rapidly toward the plane. They saw him take a long grass rope from about his shoulders as he ran. They saw the noose swinging in an undulating circle above his head. They saw the white girl in the machine glance down and discover him.
Twenty feet above the running ape-man soared the huge plane. The open noose shot up to meet it,  and the girl, half guessing the ape-man's intentions, reached out and caught the noose and, bracing herself, clung tightly to it with both hands. Simultaneously Tarzan was dragged from his feet and the plane lurched sideways in response to the new strain.  Usanga clutched wildly at the control and the machine shot upward at a steep angle. Dangling at the end of the rope the ape-man swung pendulum-like in space.
The airborne rescue in Chapter 13 with Tarzan regaining control of the plane, saving Bertha Kirchner once again, and tossing Usanga to his just reward gives a total score of 21 which matches the average for this examination.


The detailed score sheet may be found at the end of this document.

The most points awarded for any of the Hero Factors was 5 for each of these:
U1.) Courage is mental, moral, and physical strength.
U4.) Courage provides the spirit to do what is right.
M6.) Concern for others.
M10.) Determination -  never give up and never give in.

It is no surprise that Courage with a total of 52 was the single greatest Hero Factor with U1 and U4 appearing the most times.

This evaluation confirms the typical Tarzan fan’s perception of Tarzan’s courage.  But it also illustrates Tarzan’s strong commitment to excellence and problem solving.


Seen on page 2 the Screen Shot of U.S. Marine Corp’s Core Values from


The Gold Key Tarzan #163
January 1967 Cover by George Wilson.
The ape-man swung pendulum-like in space
"Tarzan clinging to rope"
by J. Allen St. John.


Burroughs, Edgar Rice (1920) “Tarzan the Untamed”, A.C. McClurg
Freedman, David H. (2000) “Corps Business: The 30 Management Principles of the U. S. Marines, Harper Business."
Carrison, Dan and Walsh, Rod (1999) “Semper Fi Business Leadership the Marine Corps Way”, American Management Association.
Santamaria, Jason A. and Martino, Vincent and Clemons, Eric K. (2004) The Marine Corp Way, McGraw-Hill.


"Marine Corps Values"

"The Art of Manliness"

"What is commitment?"

"What does commitment mean?"

"Six attributes of courage"

"Six Rules of an honorable person"

“Tarzan the Untamed Summary”


Tarzan the Untamed ~ C.H.A.S.E.R. Bibliographic Info

Tarzan the Untamed in e-Text

Tarzan the Untamed Review by R.E. Prindle

The ERB / German Incident
Controversies related to the novel: Tarzan the Unntamed

ERB: The War Years

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