.NAME: Jasani Nidhi .R
ROLL NO. : 18
PAPER NO. : 2:
ENROLLMENT NO.: PG14101018
TOPIC: characters in Tom Johns
SUBMITTED TO: M. K. B. U.
Smt. S .B. Gardi Department of English
‘Tom Jones’ is written by Henry Fielding. Tom Jones was the protagonist of the novel. We also found many other characters in this novel like Bridget, Allworthy etc.
(1) TOM JONES
Tom’s character is, however, infused with a sincere concern for the welfare of others. One must be careful not to say “welfare of mankind” here, for Tom does not think in abstraction; he responds only to immediate and specific examples. Thus, while one never hears Tom philosophizing about the state of man, he does see him impulsively giving aid to Black George, the Man of the Hill, Mrs. Waters, and Mrs. Miller’s relatives, Nancy Nightingale, and all at own cost to his own welfare, both physical and financial. He does respond negatively to the Man of the Hill’s absolute condemnation of man and positively to the gypsy king’s philosophy of paternal benevolence, but, by and large, this is only because he has specific instances of behavior to work from. He knows the Man of the Hill is wrong because he has seen Allworthy at his best; he can appreciate the gypsy’s justice because it is overwhelmingly fair to poor partridge, which, ironically enough, was condemned by Allworthy for the very same “crime.”
Tom’s immense appeal as a character is due primarily to two factors. First, he is full enthusiasm, optimism and energy. He fully enjoys living, even, once fees, when he is in the depths of despair about his seemingly futile love for Sophia. Second, it is easy to identify with Tom because he is of that class of heroes who, as Northrop Frye has remarked, belongs to a basically realistic vein of literature and are on a par with the reader because they suffer from the same limitations and follies. Tom is an “everyman.”
(2) Mr. Blifil
Blifil is in every way tom’s foil. He has none of the impetuosity off youth and none of Tom’s idealism or generosity. He is a portrait of the thoroughly evil and thoroughly selfish man. Even when we see Blifil, at the tender age of thirteen, release the bird which Tom gave Sophia, it is not merely a childishly taunting incident. It is a cleverly planned scheme to put Tom in a bad light; in other words, Blifil is “thirteen going on forty.” As Tom is concerned with the present, Blifil is obsessed with the future; his every activity, from extreme obeisance to his tutors and uncle to his scheme to hide the truth of Tom’s paternity, is part of his plan to inherit as large a share of the Allworthy estate as he possibly can. He is so thoroughly aware of the causal nature of events that he manipulates then to his own best advantage. In fact, he is so busy manipulating that he can never enjoy living; all of his joy is pinned on one moment in the future, and that moment, justly enough, never arrives.
Unlike Tom, Blifil does not learn from experience and does not gain a proper perspective on time. At the end of the novel, he is engaged in exactly the same kind of activity that we have seen throughout: he is scheming to acquire a fortune. The only difference is that the estate belongs to a Methodist widow rather than to Allworthy. While Tom is full of healthy “animal spirits,” Blifil is “wholly of the devil’s party.”
(3) Squire Allworthy
As his name suggests, Squire supposedly a master of all the virtues- wisdom, goodness. He sincerely attempts to live up to his name. We cannot doubt his generosity, for he is quite free with both his home and his money. However, because of his abstract concept of justice and morality, we can doubt his wisdom, or at least his perception.
Allworthy is what one might call a conservative interpreter of the Mosaic laws. He has bound himself and others, in his position as magistrate, to strict observance of this code and thus his justice is one of rules and regulation rather than a more humanistic assessment of the circumstances in each situation. Therefore, when the evidence seems to point to one conclusion, Allworthy does not question the source of his evidence- as indeed he should have in the case of Partridge’s wife and of Blifil continuing testimonies against Tom. The kindest remark we can make about Allworthy is that he does sincerely attempt to establish a strongly ethical code for himself and that he is unafraid to admit his errors.
(4) Squire Western
Squire western is obviously a man much given to the enjoyment of life, but only on his own terms. He is robust, rowdy, lusty, vulgar, and eminently delightfully simply because he manages to infuse his every waking moment with a profound joie de vivre. One feels that Western absolutely and thoroughly enjoys everything he does-from hunting, drinking, eating, and listening to Sophia play the harpsichord, and even arguing violently with his sister. He, like Tom, has enough of youthful spontaneity to leave the serious business of pursuing his daughter in order to join a fox hunt. Because of his immense energies, however, Western is also both a domineering and stubborn figure.
It is this impulsive behavior which gives him the flavor of youth and makes him seem more akin to Tom than any other character in the novel.
(5) Mrs. Western
Mrs. Western, like her brother, has boundless energies and she has directed most of them toward gaining knowledge of the world. She is well-read in literature, both contemporary and classical, and she keeps up with the flood of political pamphlets pouring from the presses in London. She has had some connections with life at court and she is decidedly a royalist. Further, she makes the most of all such connections, however minor, and continually compares her brother’s conduct of his estate to the conduct at the court- always, of course, to indicate what a boorish, uncultured bumpkin the squire is. She is also a perpetual and incurable adviser, even when her advice is unsolicited and unwanted.
(6) Sophia Western
Sophia is, of course, the soul of beauty, womanhood, and sincerity. She is a loving and obedient daughter and becomes a loving and obedient wife. As Fielding remarks, she has “the plain simple workings of honest nature.” Within these “workings,” however, she has the ability to love deeply and to assert her independence of body and spirit. But, she also has grace and enough even to win unwittingly the admiration and affections of London noblemen. She is, in other words not unschooled on the feminine arts.
As we learn during her journey to London, Sophia has inherited some of her father’s energies. She has enough spirit to deny both her father’s and her aunt’s demands, to undertake a rather dangerous journey to London, and to show Tom what his activities with Mrs. Waters lost him by leaving her muff on his unused pillow. One must admit that she has more of understanding instances of inconstancy, indeed, almost as if she did not expect fidelity. Like the virtuous woman that she is, she can forgive Tom anything but his bandying her name about the country and thus staining her reputation. But since it is Partridge and not Tom who is guilty of this, all is set for her final acceptance of Tom.
As Tom’s travelling companion and supposed father, the bumbling Mr. Partridge is a thoroughly comic figure. And, as the inept but pedantic scholar, he is also a stock comic character, having an analogue in comic satire as early as Aristophanes’ play ‘The clouds.’ Partridge partakes of the stock figure of the rather cowardly and unintentionally clownish servant and, of course, is the counterpart of Don Quixote’s companion, Sancho Panza.
These stock traits more or less define partridge’s character, which is never intended to be subtle. He is the ardently earnest man who takes himself for too seriously and thus can only be seen comically.
(8) THWACKUM AND SQUARE
The two scholars in the Allworthy household have the same fundamental traits and are as easily confused with each other as are Hamlet’s undefined friends, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. They both live in the Allworthy home simply for the advantage it brings them, as their obvious and ingratiating preference for Blifil, the young heir to the fortune, so easily illustrates. Allworthy Thwackum speaks continually of piety and square of virtue, neither is as concerned with such abstractions as they are with the material reality of the pound sterling. Although Thwackum is a devout, orthodox Anglican and Square is a thoroughgoing deist, it makes no difference in how they conduct their lives. Neither even listens to the logic that is presented by the other nor to the logic which they themselves spout; do they simply respond on cue with micronized phrases. Square does, however, redeem himself through his totally unexpected confession to Allworthy of his and Thwackum misrepresentation of Tom’s actions. Thwackum, however, remains as hypocritical, dogmatic, and ungrateful as ever.
· Some other characters
· Bridget Allworthy
The matronly sister of Squire Allworthy; she has little to recommend her but wealth. She is, we finally learn, Tom’s real mother.
· Deborah Wilkins
The waiting-woman to Bridget and a self-styled overseer of the squire’s mother and the morals of the family.
· Jenny Jones
An intelligent servant in the home of the schoolmaster, she is accused of being Tom’s mother. For her own good, Allworthy reprimands her and send out of the neighborhood. She takes another name, Mrs. Waters, and Tom, after rescuing her, has a brief but intense affair with her at Upton Inn.
· Captain Blifil
A hypocritical fortune seeker who pretends to virtue while taking advantage of Allworthy’s hospitality and Bridget’s natural instincts. Hoping inherit the estate, he marries Bridget, but dies soon after their first child is born.
· Mrs. Honour
Sophia’s servant; she helps Sophia to escape from her father’s demand that she marry Blifil and accompanies her to calm the squire.
· Parson Supple
The local Anglican parson and particular friend of Squire. He uses diplomacy on numerous occasions to calm the squire.
· Molly Seagrim
George’s daughter; she is a renowned for her lax morals. Before Tom falls in love with Sophia, he has an affair with Molly-as does Mr. square.
· Lawyer Dowling
The lawyer whom Bridget hires to handle her estate and who is with her when she dies. He is one of three people in novel who know secret of Tom’s birth, so Mr. Blifil makes sure that Dowling does not inadvertently reveal it.
· Ensign Northerton
The soldier who taunts Tom about Sophia and finally hits him with a bottle of wine. He is also the scoundrel from whom Tom rescues Mrs. Waters later in the novel.
· Harriet Fitzpatrick
Sophia’s cousin. Sophia meets her while they are both journeying in to London. Harriet is escaping from domineering and cruel husband, Sophia is feeling from her father. They have that, as well as the fact that they once lived together with their mutual aunt, Mrs. Western, in common.
· Mr. Fitzpatrick
A man rather like captain Blifil in that he woos and marries a woman, Harrier, only for her money; before the wedding he is the picture of gentility, but turns out later to be totally self-centered.
· Mrs. Miller
A widow of a clergyman, she now runs a boardinghouse in London. Allworthy has befriended her and Tom stays at her home when he arrives in London. She is a good and virtuous woman.
· Nancy Miller
Mrs. Miller’s daughter. She becomes the lover of one of her mother’s tenants, Mr. Nightingale, whom she eventually marries.
· Mr. Nightingale
A boarder at Mrs. Miller’s home and “a man of wit and pleasure.” He is Nancy Miller’s lover and, after overcoming his father’s demand that he manly for money, he marries Nancy, who is carrying his child.
· Lady Bellaston
The extremely wealthy and debauched matron in London, who takes Tom in and, for a while, favors him with her gifts and herself.
· Lord Fellamar
An English peer and friend of Lady Bellaston; he falls in love with Sophia and attempts various ruses, including rape, to get her to marry him.
· Mr. Summer
He is the son of a clergyman and a friend of Allworthy who lives at the Allworthy estate for about a year, but dies about six months before Tom is born. It is he, so we learn at the end of the novel, who is Tom’s real father.