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Father’s Day: From King Lear to Atticus Finch, the 7 most celebrated father figures in literature

Fathers have a profound impact on our lives, there can be no doubt about that. Whether it is through the example that they set or their protective, nurturing behaviour. The values that they instil in us remain till we can pass them on to our own children. On the occasion of Father’s Day let us honour some of the most iconic father figures in literature.

Atticus Finch

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Atticus and Jean Louise discussing her reading. ( To Kill a Mockingbird (Movie Adaptation) )

The father to the protagonist of To Kill a Mockingbird, written by Harper Lee, serves as a perfect example of what we want from a father figure. He is equal parts stoic and caring in his interaction with his children, always mindful of their doings but never overbearing. As a single father, we get to read about some of his struggle as well, especially when he must make the choice between what is right and what is easy. Atticus’ nature is described in great detail throughout the book and it must not come as a surprise to anyone that he remains the topmost father figure in literature.

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Don Vito Corleone


The Godfather written by Mario Puzo is perhaps the greatest book ever written about the mafia. Don Corleone story starts with the death of his own father and his journey to New York where he successfully establishes his criminal empire. He runs both his crime and actual family with an iron fist, yet his affection is never lacking. As cold and calculating as the Don might be, his attachment to his children and the importance he placed in the power of family are what earn him a place as one of the best father figures.

Hans Hubermann

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Movie Grab

Movie Grab ( The Book Thief (Movie Adaptation) )

mThe Book Thief written by Markus Zusak, give us one of the best representations of adoptive fathers. Hans Hubermann is portrayed as a gentle and loving character who facilitates Liesel’s love for books by teaching her how to read. Offering her a much-needed escape from her current reality of World War II. His character is in sharp contrast to that of the atmosphere of the war, Hubermann is able to provide Liesel with strong morality and virtue in a world that has none.

Mr Bennet

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Movie Grab

Movie Grab ( Pride and Prejudice (Movie Adaption) )

It can not be easy taking care of five daughters and keeping your sanity and sense of humour through it all. The character of Mr Bennet in Pride and Prejudice, written by Jane Austen, is that of a flawed man but just enough to make him appear human and not a bad father. Mr Bennet does not push his daughters into marriage to further his own goals rather he allows them space to figure it out for themselves. His understanding and patience when it came to his daughters sets an example that was far ahead of its times.

Arthur Weasely

A still from the movie.

A still from the movie. ( Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban,(Movie adaptation) )

The father of 7 children in the Harry Potter series written by J.K. Rowling might not be the most manly of father figures on this list but his hard work and dedication for his family is remarkable. When it came to protecting his family and fighting for what’s right, Arthur Weasely was first in line. He is certainly powerful in his own right. His fun loving, soft and often excitable nature make him a character worthy of mention.

Bilbo Baggins

Movie still.

Movie still. ( The Lord of the Rings (movie adaptation) )

Though not technically a father, Bilbo Baggins from J.R.R. Martin’s Middle Kingdom fantasy serves as yet another good example of the benefits of a positive male role model. He encourages Frodo’s curious nature and shares with tales of his adventures and exploits. Samwise Gamgee also takes on Bilbo as a father figure as he is the one to teach Sam his letter and introduces him to the world of elves and dragons.

King Lear

Sir Anthony Hopkins and Florence Pugh in an adaptation of King Lear.

Sir Anthony Hopkins and Florence Pugh in an adaptation of King Lear.

Though technically the character and story of King Lear is written by Shakespeare as a tragic one, it still revolves completely around him being a father. Looking to distribute his kingdom, the King attempts to test the affection of his daughters and it all goes downhill from there. Due to him disowning his youngest daughters, the rest betray and shun him. Perhaps not the most honourable of characters, King Lear’s motivation and life lies in the love of his daughters.

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