Character Analysis Siddhartha


The preeminent factor in a study of Hesse's Hindu protagonist is his growth from the impatience and impetuosity of youth and young adulthood to the fulfilled wisdom of age. Despite the fact that Siddhartha leaves his father, the influence of his Brahmin upbringing stays with him, for the goal of his life is the attainment of Nirvana. It is merely the means to the end with which he disagrees with his father and also with the Samanas, Gotama Buddha, and the Buddha-follower Govinda. The growth pattern of Siddhartha's entire life consists of several phases of conditioning which are necessary to attain a perfect unity with the Absolute. Siddhartha must experience Brahman spontaneously and without artificial preparation in order to transcend time and gain Nirvana. In all stages of his life, Siddhartha must, as his name suggests, "seek his own goal" in an untutored, unassisted first-hand quest. His traversing the river into the city is, likewise, an integral phase of the quest. The transparency of this illusory world only becomes apparent to Siddhartha after he has had the chance to experience this time-bound world directly. The despair which follows prepares us for the final realization of a middle-aged Siddhartha: Pursuing the way of the sense deity, Kama, will lead to nothingness. Vasudeva completes Siddhartha's entry into his final stage of self-realization by not attempting to teach or indoctrinate, but by showing Siddhartha that the inexplicable ways of the river promise revelation.

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