A Passage to India By E. M. Forster Character Analysis Doctor Aziz

Aziz is a warmhearted, passionate, excitable people whose quick changes of mood lift him to heights of exuberance and cast him into the depths of despair within an exceedingly short space of time. He is high-spirited, fun-loving, and hospitable to an exaggerated degree. When he is found in error, he is tremendously sensitive.

His feelings are genuine, however, and his loyalty to his friends is unquestioned. His response to Mrs. Moore is one of quick affection that remains constant even after her death. Although he refuses to read Fielding's letters, his deep sense of betrayal is caused by his great love, which he feels has been offended. Aziz's quick response to Mrs. Moore and Fielding is a part of the secret of the "understanding heart" which Forster emphasizes as the key to understanding among men. Aziz's name embodies the "beginning" and the "end" (A to Z) of human frailties, but he makes no mistake about the people who have the ability to judge on the basis of individual worth.

Aziz is a skilled surgeon and a well-educated, intelligent doctor, but the science of medicine is not a matter of deep concern to him and he gives it up quite readily to live and practice in a more primitive way in a remote Hindu state. Here he is free to write his poetry extolling the past glories of Islam and pleading for the freedom of women. His poetry exemplifies his quandary. He is a man at the crossroads. One way leads to Western civilization, which would abolish the purdah and establish sanitary practices; the other would retain Eastern customs, traditions, and the primitive practices of the medicine man. Like Janus, Aziz has two faces; one faces back toward the India of the past, the other turns toward the West, the civilizing force of which can help conditions in India. Whoever deals with Aziz can never be sure which face he is presenting. Aziz is partly influenced against Western thought by the high-handed ways of the English, who do not make the Western way of life attractive.

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