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Guilt In Fifth Business Essay

756 words - 3 pages

Guilt is the regret one experiences when they realise their action was not appropriate according to a lawful or moral standard. In Fifth Business, by Robertson Davies, guilt was a major theme and was essential throughout the novel. Davies used the three main characters, Dunstan Ramsay, Boy Staunton, and Paul Dempster to illustrate the different effects of Mrs. Dempster’s incident. The way one is raised, the key disciplines they have developed and their way of thinking reflects how they deal with guilt.

Boy Staunton was illustrated to have an interesting attitude. Through the lack of his morals and principles he felt no guilt after the incident. “I threw a snowball at you, and I guess it gave you a good smack” (Robertson Davies, pg. 27.) Boy took no responsibility over his action and blatantly denied the guilt. Another example that displayed Boy’s insensitiveness was when he was involved in a sexual act with Mabel, a student at his school, at a time period when he was in a relationship with Leola. His father played a major role in that situation as he bribed Mabel’s mother to not involve the authorities. Boy never apologized or showed discomfort in any way. Lastly, he cheated on Leola, after their marriage. Leola found a note from one of his admirers and in return Boy stated, “There’s no reason to carry on like that, but if you think I intend to be tied down to this sort of thing, you can think again” (pg.178.) Boy was illustrated as quite successful wealth wise, however due to his lack of morals and principles he struggled to keep many relationships and disappointed many who relied on him.

Paul, the premature baby had a troublesome childhood, which led to the development of his unique character. He fled town at an early age as a result to people’s taunts about his insane mother and even his own father’s blames. “My father always told me it was my birth that robbed her of her sanity” (pg. 139) However, even after his father accuses, he still felt no emotions for his mother. When Ramsay met him in New Mexico, Paul showed no interest when Ramsay brought up the topic of Mrs. Dempster. The incident of his...

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