In this article we will discuss about the relationship between personality and character of an individual.
Character is sometimes treated as a special phase of personality and in so far as personality is described as an additive phenomenon, it is said to consist of intelligence, and character or of character, temperament and intelligence. But what do we mean by character? What relation has it to personality?
To Lombroso and Kretschmer physique determined character. To Watson ‘character’ was only a term generally used when viewing the individual from the standpoint of his responses to the more conventionalized and standardized situations (connected by the word ‘morals’). Shand, in his ‘Foundation of Character’ (1915), argues that every sentiment or emotional reaction towards ideas or objects formed a type of character.
McDougall believed that character consisted in sentiments formed by the combination of native propensities or instincts with ideas in various ways. According to him this organization of sentiments expressed itself in violating, in the higher forms of action and in that control of action which is one’s character. Personality to him was a bigger concept – a synthetic unity of all features and functions in their intimate interplay.
According to Gordon, personality is a more comprehensive term and it includes character which is a special aspect of a developed personality. In the eyes of Ogden, whereas “personality is the expression of a man’s inner life, character is the expression of what he does or achieves”.
Morton Prince claimed that character was the emphasized element in the whole reservoir of elements which combining together constituted personality. William Drown speaks of character as “an organization of the affective and emotional aspects of the mind leading up to the development of more or less tenacity of purpose and strength of will”.
However, the word personality seems to represent to most people the degree of richness and fullness of a man’s individuality, whereas character consists in strength of will, persistence and general moral bearing. It seems unnecessary to push the difference any further.
One clear indication is that personality includes character and that character is the volitional and ethical side of personality and we can understand it by defining as the however organized system of ethical values like consistency, dependability, honesty, co-operativeness, self-control, etc. Character is strong or weak in so far as the organization of these values is strong or weak.
Thus character is an ethical concept as Allport calls it an in support of it he quotes Sir John Adams saying that character is the moral estimate of the individual or an evaluation of personal it)’. Murphy calls character “a set of standards and an inner technique of the will for holding to these standards.”
To a large number of writers, then, character is the ethically effective organization within the personality or as an enduring disposition to check the impulses or tendencies in accordance with a regulative principle or standard.
In so far as character consists in resisting temptation in control of impulses and in regulating one’s life in accordance with the approved social and ethical standards, there is the significance of the aim of education consisting in the development of character.
The developed character or ‘moral integrity’ gives a force and effectiveness to the person to utilize his full power and drive for action. But neither personality nor character develops in vacuum, both have social implications and are largely social evaluations.