I love the film too, and take different meanings from it and have different questions about it each time I watch it.
Hopefully this isn’t a complete derailment, but I’m curious as to the thoughts of others regarding the meaning of the title of the film.
I’ve always wondered who was “The Unforgiven”, and who was the unforgiving. I have come to believe that Bill Munny was both. I never took him to be as evil as he himself thought he was. In my take, he was a reformed man who still carried the guilt of his youth with him. Throughout the film, he is in fact quite compassionate and ethical.
When Morgan Freeman is killed, he resorts to his old ways and exacts revenge. He was always an able killer, and it was a skill he felt evil for possessing. Sadly, it’s the one thing he’s good at. He’s not a very successful farmer. Paralleling his character, Hackman is also good at killing but bad at carpentry.
I know I’m not being very elegant here…but my take: he really wasn’t evil or bad to the core. He was just a man who had done bad things and never gotten over the stain it left on his soul.