Character of Sir Roger
Sir Roger de Coverley is a fictional Tory character who was created to serve as a farcical squire stereotype of the bygone era by the Whig authors, Addison and Steele. His character is a well mixture of hospitality, humanity, love, helpfulness, disappointment, superstition, singularities, kindness, honesty and goodness. Although the character was created to deride the Tory mannerisms of the bygone era, Addison’s satire is very mild, and that makes Sir Roger a rather agreeable character. Sometimes his behaviour seems to be very odd but they proceed from his good sense. He is beloved rather than esteemed by all who know him.
Sir Roger portrayed the antiquated country gentleman stereotype, allowing for The Spectator to deride him as a nostalgic relic. The traditional paternalistic attitude of Sir Roger when dealing with his tenants and servants is another example of a country trait that the authors attempted to mock. Instead their efforts resulted in Sir Roger appearing sympathetic and commendable, as the attitude stood in sharp contrast to the new generation of hard-hearted landed aristocrats. Unlike these new landowners, Sir Roger continued to observe traditional forms of country hospitality.
After getting invitation from Sir Roger, the author went to Sir Roger's country house. Here we see that he is very hospitable and did everything possible to make his friend happy, comfortable, free, and undisturbed.
In “Sir Roger at Home”, Sir Roger’s treatment of his servants is adequately dealt with. He loved each of them and he maintained a friendly relationship with them and inquired after their health and family. His nice behaviour towards them helped them develop such love for him that if they were not employed, they seemed discouraged. The servants in the household of Sir Roger considered themselves quite fortunate to have a master like him. They seemed to enjoy doing whatever he demanded them to do. He believed in the equality of master and servants. It bears the testimony that his treatment to his servants was ideal. Even his pet dog or a retired horse was not left unloved. The love between the master and the servants developed in such a degree that if he simply coughed or showed any infirmity of old age, there appeared tension in the looks of his servants.
To some extent Sir Roger can be considered to be eccentric. In the essay "Sir Roger at Church" his eccentricity is seen in which he exercised his authority. While the healthy living and paternalistic communal relations demonstrated by Sir Roger are portrayed with subtle admiration, his dealings with the local church are highly satirized in "Sir Roger at Church". Mr. Spectator could not suppress a hint of bemusement over Sir Roger’s complete authority in the church writing that, ‘As Sir Roger is Landlord to the whole congregation; he keeps them in very good order, and will suffer no body to sleep in it besides himself…’ The squire routinely caused disruptions such as lengthening the verses of psalms, standing while others were kneeling so as to note any absences and interrupting the sermon to tell people not to disturb the congregation with fidgeting or making noise. Mr. Spectator opined that the worthiness of his character made these behavioural oddities seem like foils rather than blemishes of his good qualities. He also noted that none of the other parishioners were polite or educated enough to recognise the ridiculousness of Sir Roger’s behaviour in and authority over the church. These observations of Sir Roger’s love of the high-Anglican church in the countryside are essential to the authors’ original purpose for creating the character, to mock the seemingly backwards rural Tory.
In summing up, it can be said that despite being a man of great honour, Sir Roger is regarded as a humorist and sometimes eccentric because of possessing some oddities or peculiarities in him. However, the ultimate aim of Addison was not to show his humorous expressions to make up laugh only, rather to make up correct for our follies and absurdities. But the main intention of Mr. Spectator was to correct the society, to reform every corner of life by presenting the character Sir Roger.