Asterion had offered me gold; he had put wine and dressed meat before me to the sound of music. But he had made my standing mean, and hurt my pride in myself when it was my whole estate. It is what any man will have blood for, who is half a man.

Theseus and the bull-dancers are free, but they fight because they want to kill Asterion. Theseus had been a slave, and Asterion injured Thesus's pride along with everything else. As far as Theseus is concerned, if anything is worth a battle, it is an insult to one's honor. Some things require vengeance, and although Theseus does not generally risk lives without cause, in this case everyone else is willing to risk their lives to avenge their honor. A life, it seems, can be worth losing; it is honor that cannot be lost. Theseus lives his life by that code.