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Blifil, the antagonist of Tom Jones, is a foil to his uncle
Allworthy. In contrast to Allworthy, whose altruism is almost excessive,
Blifil not only acts vilely, but coats his evil with sugary hypocrisy. When
Allworthy and Tom confront Blifil with his crimes, Blifil weeps not out of
remorse, but rather out of terror. He does not reform his ways, but merely his
religion, expediently converting to Methodism in order to marry a rich woman. As
the static villain, Blifil stands opposite the consistent goodness of Allworthy.
Fielding uses Blifil's lack of passion to condone Tom's abundance of "animal
spirits" and to sharpen his definition of love. The reader does not admire
Blifil's chastity, since it stems from an excessive interest in Sophia's
fortune and in a desire to eclipse Tom. Fielding's claim that physical pleasure
is a necessary part of true love is further validated when Tom's philandering is
contrasted with Blifil's bitter chastity.
Ace your assignments with our guide to Tom Jones!