Adam is the imperfect hero of the novel. At the outset of the novel, he is a proud man who considers himself a good carpenter and a hard worker. But he is judgmental toward his father, whose death causes him to examine his heart. Adam has a soft spot for all helpless creatures, including his dog, Gyp, and his brother, Seth. However, he has no tolerance for evil because he cannot understand temptation. Adam believes that when a man decides that something is wrong, it is easy to avoid that action. Obsessed with Hetty Sorrel, Adam only sees the best in her. Blinded by her physical beauty, he cannot see that she is really a shallow, vain young girl. Upon finding out about the affair between Hetty and Captain Donnithorne, Adam blames Captain Donnithorne and continues to believe only the best about Hetty, even to the point of proposing to her in spite of her tarnished honor. But Hetty’s arrest for murder nearly crushes Adam, especially as he comes to realize that Hetty actually did kill her infant, a crime he considers to be completely against all human and female intuition and nature. He struggles with the irreparable nature of the crime she has committed and the evil that has been committed against her. After he recovers from the shock of Hetty’s crime, however, Adam’s character is mellowed by the experience. His pride is largely humbled, and he is less judgmental of others.
More characters from Adam Bede
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