Characters

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Last Reviewed on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 232

The Vocation of Man by Johann Gottlieb Fichte, published in 1800, presents a transcendentalist philosophizing on religion, free will, and morality. The text addresses Fichte's thoughts in three different sections, titled "Doubt," "Knowledge," and "Faith." Transcendentalism, developed by German philosopher Immanuel Kant and followed by American writers Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau, includes the ideology that one must look to nature as the preeminent voice in the world.

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The text does not contain characters, per se. Given that the text seems to exist as Fichte's personal stream of consciousness on his ideologies, he only identifies one character: the reader.

This character, the reader, is made blatantly obvious in Fichte's preface when he states the following:

I must, however, remind my reader that the "I" who speaks in this book is not the author himself, but it is his earnest wish that the reader should himself assume this character.

In making this stylistic choice, Fichte wants the reader to hold conversations with himself, draw conclusions based upon these conversations, and form conclusions based upon his own "labour and reflection." It is the reader who travels the text as though on a journey of intellect and philosophizing. The reader, under these circumstances, is the only "character" who matters or exists.

On a side note, the pronoun usage is typical of the time period and, therefore, identifies the reader (regardless of gender) as male.

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