Discuss the character of Aziz in A Passage to India.

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cybil | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

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The main character in Forster's novel, Dr. Aziz is pleasant man, typically eager to please others. Unfortunately, he often acts hastily, without thinking through his actions carefully, and the consequences are not what he expected. For instance, in an attempt to impress Mr. Fielding and to welcome Mrs. Moore and Miss Quested to India, Aziz invites them to his house before realizing to his horror that his house is not presentable. Quickly, he changes the plan to a visit to the Marabar Caves, a place he has never ever seen.

Two qualities that makes Aziz stand out in the novel are his fondness for ancient poetry and his interest in the history of India. At times he seems to wish he could have lived in the past. His quoting poetry demonstrates a sensitive side while it also reveals a characteristic of Indian life not seen among the  British.

A Muslim, Aziz is contemptuous of most Hindus, calling them "slack," because he disapproves of their careless view of time. Though he yearns to be friends with certain members of the British community, he, like most of the other Indian characters, resents the British colonial rule. The question that begins the novel, "Can an Indian be friends with an Englishman?" is one that puzzles Aziz for much of the novel.

He is kind to Mrs. Moore, whom he sees as "an Oriental," because she is spiritual, and Mr. Fielding because Fielding is a compassionate friend of the Indians, but as the novel unfolds, Aziz has experiences that change his view of Fielding. Mrs. Moore achieves an almost god-like status, on the other hand.

Likeable, knowledgeable as a physician, friendly,  Aziz is nevertheless to some extent as prejudiced as the British in the novel. His hasty actions and sometimes flighty behavior cause problems he doesn't anticipate when he goes overboard to impress his guests on the trip to the caves.

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