Analysis of Humbert Humbert 12th Grade

The narrator and focal character of Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita, who has appointed upon himself the pseudonym Humbert Humbert, strikes the reader as one of the most despicable and unorthodox protagonists in classic literature. He embodies numerous flaws and traits that would be nearly intolerable within a human being, but which provide for a fascinating literary character. In Humbert’s narrative, his fundamental traits of self-delusion and inherent immorality are unavoidably exposed to the audience, his supposed jury, as they drive the story forward. However, in an attempt to salvage his reputation, Humbert subtly reveals another prominent trait of his: a general indecisiveness and tendency toward inaction. Nabokov establishes these chief characteristics through various literary tools, such as various forms of chance occurrence, the actions of other characters toward him, and, most importantly, Humbert’s own narrative and use of language.

The most defining characteristic of the novel’s protagonist is his delusional passion for Lolita and overall detachment from reality, as it is this trait that facilitates Humbert’s immoral actions and tragic ending. One of the chief aspects of Humbert’s delusional nature is his love for the idea...

Join Now to View Premium Content

GradeSaver provides access to 971 study guide PDFs and quizzes, 7748 literature essays, 2170 sample college application essays, 323 lesson plans, and ad-free surfing in this premium content, “Members Only” section of the site! Membership includes a 10% discount on all editing orders.

Join Now

Already a member? Log in