Evaluate Henry Fielding’s art of characterisation in “Tom Jones”.
Or, Write a short note on the characterisation of Henry Fielding in “Tom Jones”.
Introduction: “Tom Jones” (1749) is a well-known novel in English literature. This novel is written by Henry Fielding (1707 – 1754). This novel is considered the mirror of the Fielding’s age. According to Hudson, “Tom Jones” is the greatest novel of the eighteenth century. In structure and the richness of characterization, Tom Jones stands unrivaled in the history of English fiction”.
Ingenious traits: Tom Jones is such a character in which Fielding shows both the good and bad side. We can see the good side in Tom’s character as he saves Black George from Allworthy’s punishment. Then he saves Sophia from horse riding accident. Then when Squire Allworthy becomes ill, he becomes worried from heart. On the other hand, he goes to the bed of Molly, Mrs. Waters and Lady Bellaston without any hesitation. At that time, he is in deep relationship with Sophia.
আরও পড়ুন:Write a note on Aristotle’s concept of unity of action, with reference to his theory.
Female hypocrisy: Fielding shows female hypocrisy in sundry characters in the novel. We get the description in the novel with the characters of Bridget, Molly Seagrim and Lady Bellaston. We come to know that Bridget had an illegal relation with a schoolmaster named Partridge. Molly Seagrim had a sexual relationship with Tom. But it is noted that she is more active to create illegal relationship with Tom. Lady Bellaston is also a hypocrite in the novel. We get her lustful nature. She plots against Sophia as well. Lady Bellaston expresses her attitude in the following line:
“Etoff entertained me last night almost two hours with [stories of Tom Jones]. The wench I
believe is in love with him by reputation.”
Thus, he is successful showing female hypocrisy.
Compassionate guardianship: Compassionate guardianship has been proved by the character of Squire Allworthy. He comes from London after three months to his house. Surprisingly, he sees that a child in his bed. He could not search the real full parentage of Tom Jones. After that, Squire Allworthy takes him as his guardian. Bridget takes the child as caretaker from his elder brother. Later we come to know that she is the real mother of Tom. Thus, Tom gets shelter in Allworthy’s house. Finally, Allworthy gives him half of his properties as an heir. The writer shows compassionate guardianship as a character.
আরও পড়ুন:Discuss Sydney’s view on the antiquity and universality of poetry.
Presence of all classes’ people: As a father of English novel, he discusses all classes of people in his novel. At that time, discrimination between lower and upper class is shown by the character of Tom Jones. Tom is not the legal son of Allworthy Squire’s sister Bridget. For the real parentage of Tom, he has to tolerate many words from others. Besides, Fielding shows lower class people as maid and servant. He shows Squire Allworthy, a businessman as an upper-class people and at the same time maid servants like Mrs. Deborah Wilkins, Mrs. Honours.
Plotters: Henry Fielding shows sundry plotters in the novel. Plotting is the horrible system in the society. He decides to show plotting character as the bad side for the society. The prominent plotting character in the novel is Lady Bellaston.
Different professions: Fielding shows different professions in the novel by different characters. Captain Blifil was an ex-English army man. Then he shows the profession of doctor by the character of Dr. Blifil, Squire Allworthy’s friend. He shows the condition of physicians of his time. The writer says that:
“Every physician almost hath his favourite disease.”
Conclusion: To sum up, it is said that these elements are not only for the age of Fielding’s time but also all the ages. Fielding is successful to show the real human nature in his fiction.