Table of Contents | Message Board | Printable Version
Accompanied by David, Hawkeye leads his men toward the Hurons. David, like his biblical namesake, plans to fight with a sling. As they approach the Huron encampment, a volley of rifles is heard and one of the Delawares is killed. The ensuing fight begins to turn against the party's favor, until Uncas and his men join the fray from the opposite side. Munro and Chingachgook soon join in, and the Hurons begin retreating in defeat.
As the fight continues, Magua rapidly backs into the village. He and two other warriors enter the mouth of the cave where Cora is hidden, and Uncas, David, Hawkeye, and Duncan follow him, with Uncas and Duncan in the lead. Near the edge of a cliff, Cora suddenly refuses to go any further. Magua gets angry and asks her to choose between his wigwam and his knife. Cora is silent and Magua hesitates to kill her. Suddenly, a cry is heard and Uncas leaps at them. One of his warriors stabs Cora, killing her, and Magua stabs Uncas in the back. Uncas, however, manages to get up and kill Cora's murderer before being killed by Magua.
Gamut manages to wound the other Huron with his sling and he also tries to prevent Magua from escaping by standing in his way. Magua, however, escapes and jumps over a crevice, taunting his pursuers as he flees. Unfortunately for him he misses his step, although manages to save himself by grabbing on to a shrub at the cliff's edge. Just as he is pulling himself up, however, Hawkeye, enraged at the death of Uncas, shoots Magua, who falls from the cliff and dies.
This is the climax of the book, where all the action builds up to a breathless finish. The setting is on an arena-like plateau on the top of a hill. Cora, when asked to choose between Magua's knife or his wigwam is strangely silent. Has she given up? Or is she actually considering it? Magua knows that he cannot turn back now from his threat. But in the end, though he lifts his knife, he cannot kill Cora. Perhaps, in addition to revenge, a little bit of love has crept in.
Uncas dies bravely, like a warrior, in attempting to save Cora, and Hawkeye finally kills his nemesis, Magua. David Gamut, like his biblical namesake, fights the Hurons with a sling. This act is a reference to the David and Goliath battle, where little David wins. David's act of bravery represents his coming of age in the wilderness.