:: Character Sketch in “Beau Tibbs” or Goldsmith’s Art of Characterization ::
Through his literary career the essential Goldsmith stands out as the Goldsmith of character sketch and Goldsmith of graceful, persuasive writing. Both these aspects of Goldsmith as a writer are evident in the essay “Beau Tibbs”. Here he treats his personal inclination, his pensive mood and longing for human company with the characteristic ease grace of his style. But Goldsmith uses this mood of self-revelation as a kind of spring-board to bring in and dramatize the character of Beau Tibbs. But the shift of interest takes place in an easy/ graceful manner.
It an unforced change from a lyrical distillation of the self to the dramatic objectivity of a character. When Goldsmith comes to reveal and trace its evolution, he uses a number of techniques which befit more a story than as essay. Indeed, with an essay the grasp and insight of a story-teller, he characterizes Beau Tibbs through an epiphany or a few revealing flashes. He uses both a dramatic situation and the cryptic dialogues. Infact, speech locates his character. Speech and character are closely reciprocal in Goldsmith’s mode of characterization. In the essay “Beau Tibbs” Goldsmith begins from a situation charged with dramatic tension to introduce the character of Beau Tibbs. This is how Goldsmith seizes our attention at the outset and through the rapid sequence of events and dialogues keep it reverted on the character of Mr. Tibbs.
On a serene evening Goldsmith accompanies a friend to enjoy and ‘gaze upon’ the passing human crowd in one of the public crowds. Suddenly caught by the elbow he was led-out of the public walk by his friend. The quickness of his friend’s pace and his attempt to scurry through the serpentine roads, made it evident that he was escaping from some persons. The way he was frequently looking back, clearly indicated his urgency to flee from his pursuer. Thus Goldsmith carefully lays a...