Character Analysis Don Juan Tenorio


Jack Tanner's aristocratic ancestor does indeed resemble Tanner but is not to be confused with his still earth-bound descendant. Shaw describes him as having "a more critical, fastidious, handsome face, paler and colder, without Tanner's impetuous credulity and enthusiasm, and without a touch of his plutocratic vulgarity." His manners are impeccable. Although he expresses his beliefs with conviction, he does not depend upon shocking his listeners as Jack does. He is the archetype of the philosophic man whom he honors in his long autobiographical speech. He tells in detail how he had developed intellectually. From the Artist, romantic man, he had learned to worship woman; from her he learned the truth about the relationship between the sexes and the roles of the male and the female in the larger scheme of nature. Thus he was led to the higher truth relating to man's destiny.

It is Don Juan who explains to Dona Ana that all wicked people are comfortable in Hell and that Hell is "the home of the unreal and of the seekers of happiness," as well as the "home of honor, duty, justice, and the rest of the seven deadly virtues," in whose name all the evil in the world is done. He himself long since has rejected comfort and happiness as the goal in life. Moreover, he had "repudiated all duty, trampled honor underfoot, and laughed at justice." In a word, he is not one of the wicked, and he does not feel comfortable in Hell; the place bores him insufferably. The Devil describes him as a "cold, selfish egotist." But Don Juan is not disturbed by this satanic estimate of his character. He is nauseated by the Devil's sentimentality and smugness, and especially by the Devil's smooth rationalization of his beliefs and activities.

Don Juan is the accomplished platform lecturer. Along with The Revolutionist's Handbook, his speeches embody the dominant ideas in the play. Chief among these is the mystical creed of Life Force. It is Don Juan who first introduces this term. His ambition is to spend the rest of his days in profound contemplation which will lead, he is sure, to the ultimate emergence of Philosophical Man — Superman of the future. Inevitably, then, he renounces Hell, the abode of self-deceivers, and leaves for Heaven, the abode of the true Realists.

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