No one has a personality that doesn’t change. This change in personality can cause people to have two sides to their personality. “People have two sides, a good side and a bad side. ” (The Tourist) The two sides are: one bursting of goodness and one filled with evil. This difference in a personality is either helping or hurting themselves and their peers. Many stories contain characters that exhibit these bipolar, two-sided personalities. This inconsistency is part of what makes them interesting.
The reader expects a character to act in a certain way, but the double-sided personality causes them to do something unexpected. Many authors use this to grasp the reader. In his book, Fifth Business, Robertson Davies demonstrates that Dunstan Ramsay, Boy Staunton, and Mary Dempster each have a good side, and an evil side to their personalities. Dunstan Ramsay exhibits his good and evil sides several times in the novel. The most loving caring and morally right thing he does during the story was done for a woman he grew up with in Deptford.
He keeps caring and helping Mary Dempster even while his peers at school make fun of him for it. They know that she is insane. “Loving [Mary], [Dunstan] had to defend her, and when people said she was crazy [he] had to force [himself] to tell them that they were crazy themselves and [he] would knock their blocks off if they said it again” (Davies 24). Dunstan loves Mary Dempster so much that he is willing to hurt those who ridiculed her. Dunstan shows love because “[he] [is] determined that if [he] could not take care of Mrs. Dempster nobody else should do it. She [is] [his]” (Davies 182).
Dunstan loves Mary so much that he believes that he should be the only care-taker of her life. It can be inferred that he loves Mary more than her family does because Dunstan shows great amounts of love towards Mary. It comes out of the goodness of his heart. One morally wicked and offensive thing Dunstan does is towards Liesl. It was something that most, if not all, gentlemen would resent doing. Dunstan “throws [Liesl] on the floor […] and punches her” (Davies 227). This might be the most offensive or morally incorrect thing a man could do to a woman. , but he had no trouble doing it.
Dunstan also “[seizes] her nose between [his] fingers […] and [gives] it such a twist that [he] thought [he] heard something crack” (Davies 227). The twisting of the nose symbolizes that Dunstan believes Liesl to be the devil. This may be even more offensive because the devil is believed to only be evil and have no good in him. No one wants to be called a devil. He was also willing to make a fake biography for Magnus Eisengrim. This deceived everyone who read the biography; Boy Staunton “thought [Magnus Eisengrim] was born somewhere in the far north of Sweden” (Davies 264).
To make Dunstan, sound even more evil, he knows what he’s doing is wrong. Dunstan makes the fake biography because he was running after money. He was being materialistic and while he was doing that he was being morally incorrect. He deceived the world and deception is morally incorrect. Boy Staunton displays his good and evil sides many times in the book, Fifth Business. One praiseworthy, morally correct, charitable, thoughtful thing he does is care about the society during the Great Depression. The Great Depression was a disaster that struck many global economies .
Many businessmen would suicide because of the adversity. Boy Staunton pushed through it and, in fact, helped others overcome their misfortune as well. “[A]t present, I feel I should do everything I can to see that people have necessities” (Davies 149-150). Boy knows that there are many people suffering, and wants to do the best he can so that they don’t become destitute. Boy buys a bread business and “[declares] that they would hold the price of bread steady” (Davies 150). This shows that he disregards competition, which is normally very important, to a business, for the good of society.
He does one of the nicest things a businessman can do, especially at a time of difficulty. One of the many things that Boy Staunton did that reveals his ugly evil side occurs at the very beginning of the story. It is probably the most important event of the novel. Boy is very cruel and mean towards Dunstan. You could call Boy as Dunstan’s enemy. “[Boy] had been throwing snowballs at [Dunstan]” (Davies 2). This is clearly offensive towards Dunstan. Not only did he insult Dunstan but also Mary Dempster. [T]he person [Paul] knew was a woman unlike anybody else’s mother, who was called ‘hoor’ by people like [Boy]” (Davies 266). This was not only offensive towards Mary Dempster but also her son, Paul, because she was his mother. These actions reveal the ugly, evil side of Boy’s personality rather than his ‘nice businessman’ side which most of society though as the whole of it. At one point in the story, Dunstan thought Mary Dempster was a saint, but she also had a good side and an evil side to her. For Dunstan to believe that she was a saint, she must have been a good person.
She did several things that brought out her good side. But one thing that probably advocated this thought the most was that Mary was willing to leave her confinement and go pray for Willie who was pretty much dead. “[T]hen [Mary] sat by the bed and took [Willie’s}] hands in hers and prayed” (Davies 54-5). Although it would be argued that it is not the most morally correct thing to do. Her actions are beneficial to the Ramsay family and especially Willie. She goes out of her way to do something that benefits someone else. Mary Dempster did this one thing that was very wrong and brought out her bad side.
Throughout most of the story it becomes wheat she is known for. Mary Dempster committed adultery. She is already married to Reverend Amasa Dempster and she has sex with someone other than him. “[W]e saw a tramp and [Mary Dempster] in the act of copulation” (Davies 41). This spells out nothing but adultery. Committing adultery is a sin. It is stated in the bible that “[y]ou shall not commit adultery” (New International Version, Exod 20. 14). Mary, being the wife of a minister, should have known that. Not only did she commit a sin, she turns Amasa Dempster into a cuckold.
She does something that she knows is morally wicked and also offensive towards her husband. Dunstan Ramsay, Boy Staunton, and Mary Dempster each demonstrate that they have two sides to their personality, a good one and a bad one. Robertson Davies was trying to teach us this lesson using those characters in his book, Fifth Business. He did a great job portraying that idea to us. People with two sides to their personalities don’t exist in stories and novels only. In fact, they exist everywhere. Every human being had a good side and an evil side to their personalities.