The fascinating and humorous character of Sir Roger
Question: Discuss Sir Roger as a fascinating and humorous character.
Or, discuss the character of Sir Roger.
The character of Sir Roger is conceived by Steele and develops by Addison. He is the best portrait drawn by Addison. He is such a character within whom certain striking characteristics are exaggerated in order to create a comic or grotesque effect. Critics after critics have spoken highly of this character. Anyway, the figure of Sir Roger, though it belongs to a bygone of society, is as durable as human nature itself.
Diversified facets of his character
Addison has succeeded in portraying the character of a country gentleman. Sir Roger is a feudal lord full of good nature. He is lovable, kind, and charitable. He regulates his life according to an old tradition that has been reduced but its elegance and value still persist. This excellent man has eccentricities, prejudices, and superstitions. He satirically symbolizes the mannerism of London life. He has a good sense of politics too.
Kindness and benevolence
Sir Roger is kind and good that we are not only told it in plain language but through his actions and reactions around him. His kindness is reflected in his treatment of his servants who respond with affection. Thus, he is established as a good and kind master. We are told that “the knight is the best master in the world.” This goodness is brought out in the description of Sir Roger’s behavior with the servants in the essay “Sir Roger at Home” and the satisfaction of the servants continues till his death which is expressed in the essay “Death of Sir Roger”.
Lover of religion
Sir Roger is a true lover of religion. His religious zeal is well expressed in the essay “Sir Roger at Church”. He is a regular churchgoer and encourages others to come to the church. His mind is set for religious purposes and he does a lot of jobs for religion. He has decorated and beautified the inside of the church with several texts of his own choice at his own expense to encourage the parishioners to come to the church enthusiastically. Out of his love for religion, he gave every parishioner a hassock and a common prayer book in order to encourage them to attend the church congregation. He also employs an itinerant singing master to instruct parishioners rightly in the tunes of the psalms. All these things suggest the eccentricity in his character.
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Sir Roger is good, kind, generous, and eccentric. These are the basic qualities of the old knight. And throughout the essays, we have subtle touches, minute details that bring out the same characteristics in different circumstances so that consistency is built up. The character gains credibility and becomes life-like. Sir Roger’s eccentricities and oddities are seen in which he exercises his authority in the church. He is the landlord to the whole congregation. He keeps the parishioners in good order in the church though he himself sometimes sleeps in the church; he allows nobody to sleep there. If he sees anybody is nodding, he himself awakes that person or sends his servants to him to make him alert. Thus, his authoritative power sometimes leads him to become a funny man because he allows nobody to sleep in the church during sermons but he himself does so. His expression of love for Omnipotent makes us laugh because he utters “amen” three or four times, but it is generally uttered for a single time.
Romance and anguish in love
Sir Roger’s eccentricities are amusingly developed in his romance with a beautiful but perverse widow. He falls in love with her at the very first sight and becomes almost a slave to her. Despite his best efforts, he fails to drive her out of his heart. He always thinks of her. Even while walking, he remembers her sweet memory and carves her name on the barks of many a tree. The sad music of nightingales reminds him of his love. Even in his old age, whenever he is reminded of the widow, he suffers from deep anguish.
Thus, we find that in delineating Sir Roger, Addison has shown his skill. He has shown both sides of his character and made him very life-like. He is neither an angel nor a rouge, but a man with common follies and foibles, and with some qualities of head and heart. In a nutshell, Sir Roger has become as immortal as its creator Addison himself.