Mrs. Moore: Character Analysis in A Passage To India

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      Mrs. Moore is a mystical and a philosophical character. Forster has expressed his own predilections towards Hinduism through her. He wanted to focus the attention of his readers on the Hindu message that God is love. She represents the Hindu view of compassion and kindness.

Her Family

      Mrs. Moore had married twice but had lost both her husbands. Ronny, a city Magistrate in Chandrapore, was her son by her first husband. Stella and Ralph were her other children by her second husband. She loved them all. She had come to India to unite her son in wedlock with an English lady Miss Adela Quested, with whom she had come from England. She was an affectionate mother.

Warm and Kind

      She showed warmth and kindness to those whom she liked. She met Dr. Aziz in the mosque and liked him. Throughout she remained affectionate and friendly to him. As a matter of fact, she was kind to all the natives because she felt that the poor Indians were not being treated properly.


      Mrs. Moore was considerate and concerned about the happiness of others. She went to a mosque and she took off her shoes knowing that shoes were not allowed inside a mosque. Aziz shouted at her to take off her shoes and was pleased on hearing that she had already taken off her shoes. She did not want to attend the court because she could not stand the sight of Aziz's humiliation in the court. She had not gone to meet Adela Quested after the tragic incident, merely because she could not stand her sufferings.

      She wanted all Indians to be treated well by the Britishers. She chided her son Ronny for not being pleasant to the Indians. Ronny answered that India was not a drawing room. His primary business was not to be pleasant to the Indians, but to keep peace. But she persisted in her benevolent view, that India was a part of the earth and God had put us on the earth in order to be pleasant to each other.

Her Health

      Mrs. Moore was an old lady. She had past the age of marrying. Her health deteriorated after the Marabar incident. She became more peevish. The echo and the stench of the crowd had affected her greatly and she could not shake off the evil influence of either of them. She lost her interest in other people i.e. even in Aziz, Adela Quested and her son Ronny Heaslop. Even life appeared to be drab to her.

Religious Minded

      That she took interest in religion, was evident from her visit to the mosque. She was bored by the way the English were living. She was bored by the activities at the club. She chose instead to visit a mosque. She met Dr. Aziz and put many questions to him.

      She was pleased with the song sung by the mystic Hindu, Godhole. The song was an invocation to Lord Krishna "Come, Come, Come", but the Lord did not come. She told Godbole that the Lord might come in some other song.

      She was a Christian, and had come in contact with two great religions of the East Hinduism and Islam. She felt more attracted towards Hinduism. Hinduism to her was a cult of all-inclusiveness. A sudden sense of unity, of kinship with the heavenly bodies, passed into the old woman and out, like water through a tank, leaving a strange freshness behind. Universalism of the Hindus appealed greatly to her. She came to believe that God is present everywhere. She even found an affinity with a wasp which she found sitting on a peg. She talked to it and did not disturb it. She felt that the wasp also had a significance in the scheme of the universe.

Her Views on Marriage

      Moore did not believe in the sanctity of marriage. She looked upon it as a sign of carnal embarrassment. Her remarks on hearing Adela Quested's complaint against Aziz, were self explanatory. And all this rubbish about love, - love in a church, love in a cave, as if there was the least difference.


      She believed in ghosts. When she heard of the accident that Nawab Bahadur's ear had met with, she at once exclaimed that it was the ghost that had done it. Nawab Bahadur also believed that it was the ghost that had caused the accident.

Her Experience in the Caves

      She had terrifying experience in the caves. The echo came to her, again and again. Her Christian faith seemed to fail here. She perceived that the emptiness of the cave was like emptiness of the universe. Things existed but nothing had value. The echo appeared to her as a symbol of evil. She could not face the evil squarely. Her Christian faith became inadequate in dealing with evil. This traumatic experience shook her of her hinges. This was the turning point in the normal course of her life. She lost her interest in life, in her family, in her son and even in her friend Aziz.

      Coming out of the caves, she felt the stench entering her nostrils and traveling to the brain. She felt exhausted and unfit for any kind of physical activity. Her energy was suddenly sapped. She sat in a chair to relax. She started writing a letter to her children in England but found that she was unable to concentrate and write anything worthwhile. Her mind was also fatigued and refused to work. While leaving the sea-shore of India for England, felt, as she cast a glance on the coconut palms, as if they were speaking to her and laughing at her. So, she thought that the echo was India, and, therefore, she took the Marabar Caves as final.

She is a Steadfast Friend

      Her friendship with Aziz stood on sure ground. She did not change her opinion about him. Even when every Englishman was criticizing Aziz vehemently for his alleged assault on Adela Quaested, she did not change her opinion about him. She declared him incapable of such a crime and frankly told Adela Quested that he was innocent. Even before her departure for the picnic at the caves she did not want Aziz to lose heart, when Fielding and Godhole did not turn up. She told him that he should not feel bad about it.

She Could Judge Characters

      She had the knack of reading characters and forming a correct opinion about them. She met Aziz and judged him worthy of friendship. She had a good opinion of Fielding. She liked Professor Godhole for his spirituality. She condemned Miss Derek for taking away Adela Quested suddenly from the caves. She did not spare her son Ronny either when the latter mistreated the Indians.

Deterioration in Her Health

      Deterioration in her physical and mental faculties started after her visit to the caves. It was further aggravated by Aziz's arrest. She could not attend the court because she could not counter the humiliation of both, Adela and Aziz. She decided to leave for England at the time when she was needed most by Aziz. Her evidence in Aziz's favor could have saved him from humiliation and shame. She decided not to attend the marriage of her son with Adela. However, Adela and Ronny had picked up a quarrel. Mrs. Moore's presence to bring about a complete rapprochement between them was most essential. AC. Ward, says that she seemed to be wise woman without evident wisdom.

After Death She Assumed the Symbolic Role

      Mrs. Moore was mighty when she was living, but after her death she became mightier. Her name, like Julius Caesar, was repeated again and again after her death. Her presence was felt everywhere. During her life time she was helpful to everyone. After her dead she had become more helpful, Aziz wept when he heard the news of her death. He withdrew his claim of twenty thousand rupees as compassion from Miss Adela Quested when he was told by Fielding that Mrs. Moore would not have wanted any harm to be done to Adela. He became a friend of Fielding again when he met Ralph and found him to be an oriental like his mother. Stella and Ralph represented their mother when they showed their inclination to Hindu mysticism and philosophy. The spirit of Mrs. Moore was hovering over Aziz. It made no difference whether it was a trick of his memory or a telepathic appeal.

      Inside the court, the pleaders were referring to her as a weighty evidence smuggled out of India by Ronny. Outside the court, the crowd was chanting her name 'Esmiss Esmoor' Far away from Logland, she was symbolically buried in the Indian ocean.

      She had really become an abstraction. From the beginning to the end, she exercised her open influence when living, and her subtle influence when dead, to the advantage of all whom she met. She was an inextricable woman in the whole pattern of the story. Trilling is most apt in his remarks "It is Mrs. Moore, indeed, who is the story."

      She was a victim to the crookedness of the English misrule and a martyr to her desire for friendship with India. Her passage to India and passage to England are full of meanings which need no elucidation.


Do you agree with A. C. Ward's assessment of Mrs. Moore as "a wise woman without any evident wisdom".

"Mrs. Moore seems to me a wholly successful symbol." (Allen) Comment.

"In the character of Mrs. Moore, Forster has portrayed the finer type of the English spirit, different from the diplomatic or the imperialistic one. She represents the liberal outlook of the British character." Discuss.

What are the leading traits in Mrs. Moore's character. Give illustrations from the text.

What aspects of the character of Mrs. Moore does E.M. Forster reveal in his novel, A Passage to India?

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