The charismatic, capable, and aristocratic Wynand straddles the line between mainstream society and Roark’s world, and this division makes him the novel’s tragic figure. Like Roark, Wynand has extraordinary capabilities and energy, but unlike Roark he lets the world corrupt him. When we first meet Wynand, he is entirely a man of the outside world, exclusively involved with society and its interests. His youthful idealism has been crushed by the world’s cynicism. Wynand makes his living with newspapers that report on the vulgar and the common. This involvement with the world leaves Wynand misanthropic, bored, and suicidal. Wynand’s worldview changes when he meets Dominique and Roark, who ignite the passion and integrity lingering within Wynand. During Roark’s trial Wynand fights the world again and tries to turn his life around. He eventually feels that he cannot escape the ugliness he has created. Tragically, Wynand compromises at the last minute and loses his last chance at salvation.
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