by J.M. Coetzee
Character Role Analysis
As the main character of Disgrace, with every action and all information coming through his point of view, David is our protagonist. This doesn't necessarily mean, though, that he's an easy guy to like or the "hero" of this novel in the usual sense. Sometimes he totally skeezes us out, like when he tries to seduce Melanie. Other times, he irritates us with his arrogance – his laid-back attitude during the investigation into Melanie's complaint is a prime example. At other times, we just feel sorry for what he becomes as he tumbles from social grace, going from a well-respected professor to a man who carts dead dogs to the incinerator.
Still, in spite of all of his flaws, we're there with David every step of the way, watching this dynamic character re-evaluate his views and opinions, develop new relationships, and completely transform his experience of what it means to be, well, David. After everything he goes through, he becomes a little less lofty and a little more human – someone with whom, in spite of ourselves, we might even say we identify just a little bit.