Adam Bede

by: George Eliot

Captain Donnithorne

Captain Donnithorne is a weak, rich, self-absorbed man. The captain is obsessed with his own self-image, which he gleans from his perceived image among the villagers. A snob, he views all those socially beneath him, even Adam, whom he claims to respect, as children. It is uncertain whether Captain Donnithorne is actually changed by his experience with Hetty. When he goes away from Hayslope, there is no question that Captain Donnithorne is uncomfortable, but it is not apparent whether he was motivated by a genuine desire to help the Poysers and Adam or by a desire not to be seen as the villain. Captain Donnithorne does not foresee the consequences of his actions, which partly mitigates his culpability, and he does his best to help Hetty when he finds out about her plight.


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