Tome Jones Character Analysis
Tom Jones is the hero of Fielding’s most celebrated novel, Tom Jones. Tom is a foundling. He is the legitimate son of Allworthy’s sister. His parentage remains a mystery till the end of the novel. He is shown affection by Allworthy and is properly provided education along with Blifil, Allworthy’s nephew
Tom is handsome and bright. He has an attractive personality. It is on account of his bright personality that pretty women are drawn towards him. He is entangled with the ladies of fashion. Tom is not a habitual flirt. He is not a hardened womaniser. He is not a Don Juan type. His only fault is that he is handsome, at the same time the fire of love burns in him in its natural form. He loves Molly more out of sympathy than out of lust.
His love for Sophia is sincere. He is constantly in love with her. He never swerves from his love for her. He never betrays her. This is the noble aspect of his character. Despite severe jolts, trials and tribulations he remains loyal and faithful to Sophia. He is prepared to sacrifice his life for her.
On the other hand, on account of his handsome personality Mrs. Waters wanted to sleep with him. Lady Bellaston had an evil eye on him. Mrs. Miller too could marry her daughter to him. Mrs. Hunt fell victim to his handsome charms. While so many ladies are after him, he belongs to Sophia alone. In the heart of hearts he loves her. Only a man with the nobility of character could be like this. He does sin off and on but he is never behaving as a villain. We never find in him the crookedness of Blifil, nor do we find in him any trace of jealousy in this regard.
Tom is a true Christian, a Protestant indeed. He enacts the principles of Christianity in his life. He is full of the milk of human kindness. He shows mercy and compassion to the poor. He is not a money minded man. He is far away from hypocrisy, vanity, greed, treachery, ill-will, envy, or jealousy. His concept of virtue and honour is very solid and lovable. His love for all those who come in his contact is real and natural. He loves everybody by heart. While Blifil loves Sophia and Allworthy for money, Tom’s love for them is genuine. There is no consideration of money. While Blifil has evil designs against him, he does not retaliate in vengeance. He is indeed a gallant, a young man of generous disposition.
Fielding was of the opinion that man’s character should not be judged on the basis of his sexual relations. Sexual instincts, of course animal ones are a necessity of body, more particular of a young body like that of Tom. And a man impure by body may be pure by heart. Judging Tom’s character from Fielding’s own yardstick we come to conclusion that Tom is not a villain. The villain of the novel is B A C Ward calls Tom “A whole person. generous in nature, healthy in spirit and a worthy mate for the wholesome and pleasing Sophia,” in the opinion of Cazamian,
“The hero of ‘Tom Jones,’ a fine fellow without malice, and Sophia his charming fiancé have always appealed to British hearts.”
According to Walter Allen,
“Fielding was an innovator not only technically. Tom Jones was a new kind of hero, one might say the unheroic hero. He is handsome, brave, generous and well meaning Tom is now here mean, nowhere scheming. He does not have evil intentions, he bears no ill will against anyone.”
In the light of the above discussion we can safely conclude that Tom does become a sinner under circumstances but he is never a villain. He has the nobility of character which is required of a tragic hero. He has the necessary qualifications for being the hero of such a great novel that is truly in an epic form. In the history of the English novel, Tom is an immortal and lovable character.
Tom Jones Questions and Answers
Q.1: Describe in your own words Toms duel with Mr. Fitzpatrick.
Ans. – Tom’s duel with Mr. Fitzpatrick is a saga of his heroism. Tom goes to Mrs. Fitzpatrick in order to know about Sophia’s lodgings. As soon as he comes out Mr. Fitzpatrick arrives. He does not recollect the face of Tom. He suspects something bad. He asks Tom as to what he was doing there. Tom Jones is modest. Tom introduces himself but of no avail. Mr. Fitzpatrick becomes rash and gives Tom a blow. They draw swords. At this instance a number of persons rush in and seize Jones. He is delivered to the civil magistrate who orders him to be carried to a public-house. Tom’s duel with Mr. Fitzpatrick is an important event in Tom’s life which reveals the heroic aspect of his character.
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