Guilt in Fifth Business by Robertson Davies

620 Words2 Pages
Guilt is the regret one experiences when they realise their action was not appropriate according to a lawful or moral standard. In Fifth Business, by Robertson Davies, guilt was a major theme and was essential throughout the novel. Davies used the three main characters, Dunstan Ramsay, Boy Staunton, and Paul Dempster to illustrate the different effects of Mrs. Dempster’s incident. The way one is raised, the key disciplines they have developed and their way of thinking reflects how they deal with guilt. Boy Staunton was illustrated to have an interesting attitude. Through the lack of his morals and principles he felt no guilt after the incident. “I threw a snowball at you, and I guess it gave you a good smack” (Robertson Davies, pg. 27.) Boy took no responsibility over his action and blatantly denied the guilt. Another example that displayed Boy’s insensitiveness was when he was involved in a sexual act with Mabel, a student at his school, at a time period when he was in a relationship with Leola. His father played a major role in that situation as he bribed Mabel’s mother to not involve the authorities. Boy never apologized or showed discomfort in any way. Lastly, he cheated on Leola, after their marriage. Leola found a note from one of his admirers and in return Boy stated, “There’s no reason to carry on like that, but if you think I intend to be tied down to this sort of thing, you can think again” (pg.178.) Boy was illustrated as quite successful wealth wise, however
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