Sir Roger’s Character
In the Coverley Essays, Sir Roger has been characterized vividly by Joseph Addison and Richard Steele. Sir Roger is presented in these essays as kind, generous, lovable, and sometimes as a peculiar person. But in the hand of Joseph Addison, Sir Roger’s character is conveyed ironically. For that reason he sometimes seems odd. Although he is gentle and mild and lovable to people, he has some eccentricities and oddities. And all these things are delineated superbly in these essays. However, these things are given below:
Humanity: Sir Roger is a man of humanity and has a large heart. Moreover, he is mild. He loves not only the servants of his house but also the people who live around him. In the essay “Sir Roger at Church” we see that he is asking about the condition of the people who are absent in the church. It suggests that he is very kind-hearted and generous for who he is very aware of others. In “Sir Roger at Home” we see that he is loved by his servants, who are living with him and are growing older with him like family members, because of his love for them. Addison says in “Sir Roger at Home”
I am the more at ease in Sir Roger’s family, because it consists of sober and staid persons; for as the knight is the best master in the world, he seldom changes his servants; and as he is beloved by all about him.
Lover of religion: He is a true lover of religion. He is a regular churchgoer and encourages others to come to the church. His mind is set for religious purposes and he does a lot of jobs for religion. In the essay “Sir Roger at Church”, we see that he has decorated end beautified the church on his own accord and at his own expense so that the country people would be encouraged to come to the church enthusiastically. In this essay he says,
My friend sir Roger, being a good churchman, has beautified the inside of his church with several texts of his own choosing. He has likewise given a handsome pulpit-cloth, and railed in the communion-table at his own expense.
His Hospitality: After getting an invitation from Sir Roger, the author went to his (Sir Roger’s) country house. Here his hospitality takes the attention of the readers. Here we see that he is very hospitable and did everything possible to make his friend happy. Even the people around his house were requested not to get closer to Addison because Addison would be disturbed. In his house Addison was requested to feel free for any kind of job.
Him authority: Sir Roger has authoritative power both in-home and church. In the church, we see that he keeps his authoritative power. In the essay “Sir Roger at Church”, the author says,
As Sir Roger is landlord to the whole congregation, he keeps them in good order, and will suffer no body to sleep in it.
Even if he sees anybody is nodding, whether it is in the middle of the congregation or not, he walls to that person or sends his servants to him to make him alert. Moreover, he appoints the clergymen for the church on his own accord and suggests them to follow the instructions of different professors for sermons.
Skilled Organizer: Sir Roger is a skilled organizer. He organizer not only his house but also the church. He has a keen sense to organize things. The church is organized beautifully. He encourages people to come to church, decorates for the church, and keeps the church in a very good or disciplined order. All these things suggest he is a skilled organizer. Addison says about Sir roger in “Sir Roger at Church“,
He has often told me , that, at his coming to his estate he found his parishioners very irregular; and that in order to make them kneel and john in the responses, he gave every one of them a hassock and a common-prayer book.
His Responsibility: Sir Roger being the landlord of all the congregations, felt personally responsible for their behavior and exerted his authority to keep them disciplined. He allowed no one to sleep. If he felt asleep during the sermon, on waking up he would look around and if he found anyone dozing off, he would immediately wake him up. Even in the middle of the congregation he would stand up and started counting the number of people to understand anybody’s absence. Addison says,
Sometimes stands up when everybody else is upon their knees,
to count the congregation, or see if any of his tenants are missing.
His eccentricity: To some extent Sir Roger can be considered eccentric. In almost all the essays regarding him, we find its full expression. In the essay “Sir Roger at Church” his eccentricity is seen in which he exercised his authority. He wanted that his tenants should behave well in the church. They must not sleep or make any noise during the church service but he himself did so. Sometimes when everybody was on their knees, he stood up.
Humorist: Sir Roger is a humorist. In most of “de covertly” essays, we find humorous expressions. His eccentricities can not but make us laugh. The ways that he adopts to do his daily work are sometimes humorous. Sometimes his follies and sometimes his eccentricities are expressed humoristically in de coverley essays. In “Sir Roger at Home”, Addison says,
I have observed in several of my papers, that my friend Sir Roger, amidst all his good qualities, is something of a humorist.
In summing up, it can be said that despite being a man of great honor, Sir Roger is regarded as a humorist and sometimes eccentric because of having some oddities or peculiarities in him. However, the ultimate aim of Addison was not to show his humorous expressions to make up laugh only, rather make up correct for our follies and absurdities. But the main intention of Mr. Spectator was to correct the society, to reform every corner of life by presenting the character, Sir Roger.