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Home » , » Briefly Sketch the Character of Sir Roger de Coverley.
The fascinating figure of Sir Roger de Coverley devised by Joseph Addison elaborately depicted both as a type of landed country gentleman and an individual with excellences and eccentricities is a member of the Spectator Club, 'a gentleman of Worcestershire, of ancient descent, a baronet in the influential periodical The Spectator. His oddities and amiabilities are endearing and admirable yet create light satirical effect provoking laughter. He is very singular in his behaviour but his singularities proceed from his good sense, and are contradictions to the manners of the world, only as he thinks the world is in the wrong'. Sir Roger is a kind host to his friends, a benevolent landlord to his tenants, a fatherly master to his servants. But we cannot help laughing at his peculiar activities in the church, his unawareness about present mode of life and his unusual performance in the county court.

In sketching the character of Sir Roger, Addison renders psychological ground for his eccentricities by relating his disappointment in love with a perverse widow at the age of twenty three. The widow's arrogance left a permanent scar on the personality of the knight. It caused a painful change in his attitude towards life. He is now often incoherent, irrational or absurd in his speech. For this he remained a life-long bachelor. He is now oblivious of the current fashion. His inconsistent nature is seen in the essay Sir Roger at Church. He demands discipline from all others except himself. It is funny to notice that sometimes he himself enjoys short naps during the sermons in the church but does not allow anyone else to do the same. When everybody else is on his knee during the prayer session, he stands up to see if any of his tenants is missing from the congregation. It is also amusing to hear that Sir Roger is repeating 'amen' several times when all others have already stopped. However, his generosity is equally remarkable in this essay. He has distributed hassocks and prayer books among the parishioners. He has given a copy of the Bible as a reward to every boy who has done well in catechism. He is also very friendly to his chaplain. He has developed the Sunday-congregation to a moment of socialization in addition to religious duty. All these have made him endearing to his people as well as different from others

His eccentricities are also very interesting in Sir Roger at Assizes. Sir Roger is a justice of the quorum. He fills the chair at a quarter-session with great abilities. But it appears odd when, after hearing from both sides of a dispute he declares his verdict, that much might be said on both sides. The knight is not only loved and respected by country fellows he is also greatly respected by judges on the bench when they made room for him at the head of them at the country assizes. He whispered to the judge to the awe of his fellow- villagers, although all that he said was a remark about the weather. He stood up to speak twice during the progress of the trial. In an attempt to speak, he had nothing relevant to say. He merely spoke to impress the bystanders and his honoured guest, the spectator.

These are all small flaws of his character and the smallness of these flaws increases the greatness of his virtues. Despite all these he is a man of great heart. His generosity towards his servants makes him different from common man.

The pen-picture of Sir Roger de Coverley, therefore, is a unique creation of Addison. Sir Roger is a lion hearted man-humane and generous. There are oddities and eccentricities in his character but those do not harm others as they spring from his good intentions.


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