Chapter 10 -- Assessing Character Responsibility. Objective : To analyze various characters’ responsibility for their actions vis-à-vis an examination of their conscious and unconscious motivations.
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Objective: To analyze various characters’ responsibility for their actions vis-à-vis an examination of their conscious and unconscious motivations.
In previous character analyses of characters from the novel, we have evaluated them based solely on the actions they have taken. However, in order to get a more well-rounded perception of these characters, we should also examine why they act in the ways that they do and if they should be held responsible for their actions. To do this, we must consider the following factors:
The circumstances in which the character finds himself (his social and physical environment)
In other words, a devoutly religious rabbi may not necessarily be fully accountable for his actions were he to steal a loaf of bread from another prisoner in a World War II concentration camp, whereas a man who had been taught from birth by his parents that stealing is morally wrong may be held fully accountable for his actions when he mugs someone on the streets on New York.