What opinion have you formed of Basil in "The Singing Lesson"?

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Basil comes across as quite a cruel, unfeeling man. The callous way he breaks off his engagement to Miss Meadows only to renew it later on as if nothing had happened is something that most of us would find unacceptable. It seems that Basil doesn't really love Miss Meadows at...

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Basil comes across as quite a cruel, unfeeling man. The callous way he breaks off his engagement to Miss Meadows only to renew it later on as if nothing had happened is something that most of us would find unacceptable. It seems that Basil doesn't really love Miss Meadows at all and sees his engagement with her as nothing more than a convenient arrangement.

It has been suggested by a number of scholars that Basil is gay, and that his engagement to Miss Meadows is simply a way to avoid having to reveal his true sexuality. Homosexuality at that time wasn't just considered socially unacceptable; it was actually a criminal offense, and so one can understand why Basil feels the need to maintain a facade of respectability.

That said, there can be no excuse for the cavalier disregard that Basil displays for Miss Meadows' feelings. At no point does it seem that he values her for herself; only for what she can do for him. That being so, one's overall opinion of Basil would have to be somewhat negative, to say the least.

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