A character study always shows the good and evil side of a man. Here in this assignment I have to unfold the characteristics of Tom Jones- the protagonist of the novel Tom Jones.
No man is without mistakes. But it is also true that totally corrupted person is rare. Here in this novel from a general esteem one can say that Tom is a playboy and has no moral ethic. But if one knows Fielding’s view of virtue then he is sure to uphold Tom’s character.
Fielding’s view of virtue:
Fielding believed that virtue was itself a natural tendency to goodness or benevolence, and it should not be regarded as the result of the suppression of instinct at the behest of public opinion. He depicted Tom as a hero possessed of a virtuous heart, but also as possessed of the lustiness and lack of deliberation to which natural goodness is particularly prone, and which easily leads to error and even to vice. Fielding had to show how the good heart was threatened by many dangers in its hazardous course to maturity and knowledge of the world; yet at the same time and without exonerating his hero, he had also showed that Tom’s moral transgressions did not indicate a vicious disposition. Fielding puts every phenomenon into its larger perspective.
Character of Tom Jones: Tom Jones, Fielding's imperfect and "mortal" hero, is the character through whom Fielding gives voice to his philosophy of Virtue. In contrast to the moral philosophizing of many of Fielding's contemporaries, Fielding does not suggest that Tom's affairs with Molly Seagrim, Mrs. Waters, and Lady Bellaston should reflect badly on his character. Rather, keeping with the Romantic genre, Fielding seems to admire Tom's adherence to the principles of Gallantry, which require that a man return the interest of a woman. Interestingly, all of Tom's love affairs, including his relationship with Sophia, his true love, are initiated by the woman in question, which is