Character Analysis Mr. Jason Compson III


Mr. Compson appears in only a few scenes, but his presence is felt by most of the characters. Quentin is affected most by his father. Mr. Compson maintains that life is essentially useless and that there are no values in life outside those of personal pleasure and acting the role of a gentleman. Almost all his comments are filled with cynicism, determinism, and fatalism. He finds humanity to be no more than a scarecrow stuffed with sawdust. He looks upon women as essentially inferior and naturally evil. Therefore, Caddy's promiscuity is only a bit of natural, human folly. He is not really concerned with her honor; instead, he sees virginity and purity as negative states, contrary to nature and therefore needing to be violated.

Mr. Compson has detached himself from his children and plays the role of the perfect gentleman who "never disappoints a lady." Since Mr. Compson has no value except that of being a gentleman, he tears down any assumed value that Quentin tries to develop. Mr. Compson maintains that man is the "sum of his misfortunes" and that no act that man can perform has any meaning. Therefore, when Quentin comes to his father to tell him that he and Caddy committed incest, Mr. Compson merely laughs. The final picture we have of Mr. Compson is that of a man sitting on his porch, drinking whiskey and writing satirical epigrams in Latin about his fellow townsmen.