Siddhartha

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“Siddhartha” by Herman Hesse exemplifies the way one character serves as a foil to a main character. In this novel, Govinda serves as the foil to Siddhartha. Both Siddhartha and Govinda are in search of enlightenment but unlike Siddhartha, Govinda is a follower, he is a shadow to Siddhartha. Govinda highlights what may seem as weaknesses of Siddhartha and makes them look as if they are strengths.

Siddhartha is on a quest to find enlightenment and his childhood friend Govinda follows along in hope that if he stays close to Siddhartha, he will find fame and share Siddhartha’s glory. The relationship between Siddhartha and Govinda forms a circular path; starting as young boys set on reaching enlightenment, they offer one another a sense of companionship and support. Although they are both on a journey towards the same thing, the way they find enlightenment is completely different. While Siddhartha is independent and free-thinking, Govinda is always a follower but his presence in the novel helps the reader understand that the desire for enlightenment is more important than the particular method used to attain it.

When Siddhartha and Govinda reach the Buddha, Govinda decides to separate from Siddhartha and remain as a Monk while Siddhartha feels he still has not reached complete enlightenment. At this point Govinda and Siddhartha start on their different paths to find enlightenment; Govinda continues to search for enlightenment through others teachings while Siddhartha goes on and learns from his own experiences. By Govinda staying back and following people after Siddhartha leaves him makes him a foil to Siddhartha by showing that Siddhartha can continue on and knows what he wants while Govinda will always continue to follow people and learn from what they do right or wrong.

Althought Govinda and Siddhartha separate Govinda continues to follow Siddhartha. Many years later when Siddhartha is feeling as if he should end his life, Govinda shows up to watch over...
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