In the Heat of the Night Character Analysis of Virgil Tibbs Essay

629 Words May 15th, 2011 3 Pages
We are first introduced to Virgil Tibbs at a train station, where he sits silently upon a bench marked “coloured.” He appears to be quiet and shy, and possibly scared of the Caucasian officer who arrests him, but we are soon to realise that there is a lot more to Mr. Tibbs than just his skin colour. Confident, intelligent, and determined are some words used to characterize a great person, and all of these words apply to Virgil Tibbs.
Virgil Tibbs’ confidence is evident from an early stage in the book. Virgil is black, and he lives in a time in which people are not quite so accepting to his darker skin colour. His race is treated unfairly because their skin is darker than most, and Virgil finds himself being insulted and ridiculed
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Of course, Virgil couldn’t have been able to achieve a proper education if he had not been determined. You can sense Virgil’s determination to catch the murderer from the moment he is assigned to the case. Virgil is not only determined to solve the murder of Mantoli but is also determined to prove himself to the police department of Wells and show them that though he is black, he is just as capable as any other person. One good example of this is when he has a conversation with Jess the mechanic. Virgil states that Gillespie plans to blame him if they are not able to catch the murderer. Jess asks how Virgil will ensure that he won’t be blamed and Virgil answers simply “By catching the murderer.”
If Virgil Tibbs had ever existed in real life, I would have been honoured to have met him. From what I have read in the novel he is an intelligent and respectable man, who is also brave and confident. These qualities are what make him a great person, and of course, the fact that he caught the murderer only adds to this. It is a shame that Virgil Tibbs did not ever truly exist, for the world could surely have had use another great person…