Although Gottlieb is idealized in Chapter 12 as a genius, he is also brought down, and his "fall" is outlined in detail. While, at the same time, Silva is also shown as somehow "great" when he tends to Gottlieb's sick wife. In the scene in which Gottlieb trusts Silva with his wife, it is evident that Lewis intends to show a humbled Gottlieb and to illustrate that those like Silva (the "Raphael's" of the medicinal world) are also necessary. Furthermore, it is all of this seeming contradiction and juxtaposition that causes turmoil in Martin, leaving him unsure of his own path.

Martin is constantly saying to himself that Gottlieb could never waddle through a flood and deliver a baby, as he had done, and could not survive the adventures of his medical internship. Thus, Martin heightens the value of what he is doing. Martin even gets caught up in the amount of power and respect he is given as a doctor—crowds make way for him, policemen bow to his wishes, and he rides the streets in the ambulance like a king, stopping for no-one. Still, it is obvious that there is always the pestering voice of Gottlieb in his mind, which Lewis includes by not only having Martin mention Gottlieb (even in a negative way) consistently, but also by having him physically run into him in the street.