Autobiographical Elements in The Vicar of Wakefield


Autobiographical Elements in The Vicar of Wakefield


Autobiographical Elements in The Vicar of Wakefield

Autobiographical Elements in The Vicar of Wakefield

Autobiographical Elements in The Vicar of Wakefield

Every literary piece reflects the personal elements of the writer either directly or indirectly. But there is some writing which is written after the writer’s private life referring to the events that happened to him which reads like an autobiography though the piece of writing is not an autobiography in the real sense of the term. Every piece of the writings of Oliver Goldsmith is full of such autobiographical elements. His well-known but only novel entitled ‘The Vicar of Wakefield’ is also full of his own experiences and incidents that he met and faced in his personal life.

The first important character of the novel is Dr. Primrose. He is partly the image of the novelist and partly the image of his father, Charles Goldsmith. The Vicar’s that is Dr. Primrose’s generosity is of Goldsmith’s own and his humour is the humour of the novelist. Like Charles Goldsmith the father of Oliver Goldsmith, Vicar Dr. Primrose also happened to supplement his income in the new parish by working on a small farm.

Another character of the novel is George Primrose through whom Oliver Goldsmith portrays himself. As George was a university graduate so was the novelist Goldsmith, on the whole, the wanderings and adventures of George Primrose greatly resemble those of Goldsmith himself. Several of the occupations taken and tried by George were Goldsmith’s himself.

Through Moses, one of the Primrose family members, the novelist reflects on an event of his life. Like Moses, Oliver Goldsmith was also ill-treated in the club. Like Moses, Goldsmith also had a fondness for the classics.

Mr. Burchell, who is Sir William Thornhill in disguise, bears considerable autobiographical significance. Like Burchell, Oliver Goldsmith also studied medicine.

Through the character of Jenkinson and Squire Thornhill, Goldsmith has depicted the incidents of his life. Like Moses who was once duped by Jenkinson, Oliver was also duped by someone in his life. As square Thornhill was a rogue and deceived many so the novelist Goldsmith was also deceived by some rogues in his life.

Moreover, Goldsmith’s religious outlook and reformative mind is reflected in Dr Primrose in prison.

Such are the elements that are present reflecting the novelist’s own life in the novel, though it is not an autobiography in the real sense but the blending of some autobiographical elements with the themes and plot of the novel has contributed something to the popularity of the novel. 0 0 0

Autobiographical Elements in The Vicar of Wakefield

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Autobiographical Elements in The Vicar of Wakefield

N. B. This article entitled ‘Autobiographical Elements in The Vicar of Wakefield’ originally belongs to the book ‘World Novel Criticism‘ by Menonim Menonimus. Autobiographical Elements in The Vicar of Wakefield

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I am Menonim Menonimus, a Philosopher & Writer.


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