The Spectator's Account of Himself - Critical Summary and Remarks

The Spectator's Account of Himself - Critical Summary and Remarks- Literature Xpres

The author gives in this essay a few particulars about his own life because he wants to satisfy the general curiosity of the reader who always feels that it will help him to understand any work better if he knew certain personal details about the author.

Early life

 The Spectator was born to a small estate which he inherited from his father. This estate had been handed down from father to son through the ages without having been divided or altered in any manner what-so-ever. His mother had once dreamt that he would become some one of importance when he grew older, and that he would become a judge. This could have been because the family had at that time been involved in a. pending legal case. But his disposition even as a baby seemed to support his mother's dream. He had always been of a serious temperament. He had been reserved at school. His school master had been pleased with him and had said of him that he possessed solid talents which would wear well. At university, he had distinguished himself with a deep silence which he hardly broke. He was a diligent student and worked hard, so much so that, there was hardly a book that he was not acquainted with.

 Foreign tour

After the death of his father, he set out on a journey to Europe leaving the university. He had an unquenchable thirst for knowledge and this thirst took him to all the countries of Europe wherever there was anything new or strange to be seen. He had been made very curious regarding the antiquities of Egypt because of certain controversies over the pyramids there. To satisfy his personal curiosity, he went to Cairo and had a good look at the pyramids.

 Role of the Spectator

in London, he used to frequent all the resorts of the public. He had few personal friends. But he visited all the coffee houses and took note of what was happening in Will's, Child's, Grecian, _ or the Cocoa Tree. He would be found in the famous theatres of London like the Di:9517a-i-ie and Hay Market. He would frequent the exchange where he was often taken for a merchant, wherever he saw a group of people, he would mix with them but he would never open his lips except in his own club. He lived in the world in the role of an observer and this gained for him a better understanding of the various aspects of life than what the participator in that particular field himself had. A spectator is always in a better position to discover, and comment upon the mistakes made at a game than the players themselves. He kept a neutral attitude towards the political parties.

Object of writing

He was a reserved man and sometimes he regretted that so much knowledge should be the property of such a silent man. and that, because of this the public in general could   not benefit from what he had gained through reading and experience. He had therefore, decided to write down a sheet every morning about his thoughts because his taciturnity prevented him from sharing them with the people orally. He would thus communicate through writing and this would give him the pleasure of knowing that his life had not been a vain one. He would not reveal his appearance and mode of dressing because he preferred to remain obscure as he considered it terribly painful to be recognized and stared at and talked to.

The essay shows Addison's ability of vivid character portraiture. Here he draws a picture of himself as the Spectator and reveals the basic qualities that he possessed. He was indeed a reserved man, not very fond of talking. As a student too, he is reported to have been a hard-working devotee to his studies, taking little interest in extracurricular activities like games or sports. There is endearing trait exhibited here. Addison, even while speaking highly of himself, reveals no ill manners. He praises his scholarship in a well-bred manner. This urbanity marks all his essays. He never hits out bitterly against any one. He reveals other qualities besides his scholarship. He was a shy man but very observant. He was indeed well qualified for the task he had undertaken as he claims. There is also the humour that is to be found in most of Addison's essays. The very opening has a touch of sly ironical humour. He gently makes fun of the reader's unreasonable foible of wanting to know something about the author, pretending that this makes him understand the work better. There is a touch of delightful humour once again when he talks about his childhood, and his mother's dream and its Interpretation. The greatest point of irony is that Addison is describing himself while cloning the mask of the Spectator. This sketch of the character and personality of the Spectator is important fo: it introduces the reader to the object behind writing the essay and the sources from where he drew the materials for them. The essay also exhibits Addison's ability of writing and communicating his thoughts in i lucid and easy style to understand language. There is a correct balance between easy familiarity of conversation and the controlled formal manner of writing in the essays of Addison.

The Spectator's Account of Himself - Critical Summary and Remarks The Spectator's Account of Himself - Critical Summary and Remarks Reviewed by Literature Xpress on Tuesday, November 13, 2018 Rating: 5

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