Was Ransom virtuous in Out of the Silent Planet?

Answered by Stephen Mosley

Ransom, the protagonist of C.S. Lewis’ science fiction novel, Out of the Silent Planet, exhibits numerous virtuous qualities throughout the story. His actions and decisions illustrate his moral character, demonstrating his willingness to help others, his courage in facing dangerous situations, and his respect for other beings, even those vastly different from himself.

One instance that showcases Ransom’s virtue is when he retrieves a young man named Harry whom he did not know. After being kidnapped and taken to the alien planet of Malacandra, Ransom discovers that Harry is being held captive by the alien species known as the hrossa. Despite the fact that Ransom has no personal connection or obligation to Harry, he takes it upon himself to rescue him. This selfless act demonstrates Ransom’s compassion and willingness to go out of his way to help someone in need, even at great personal risk.

Another example of Ransom’s virtue is seen when he joins forces with an alien tribe to hunt down an alien beast known as the sorn. Although Ransom initially fears the sorn and views it as a threat, he recognizes the importance of working together with the hrossa to protect their community. Ransom’s bravery in facing the unknown and his willingness to put aside his own fears for the greater good exemplify his virtuous nature.

Furthermore, Ransom’s visit to the alien “leader” known as Oyarsa also highlights his virtue. Despite the vast differences in their respective species and cultures, Ransom treats Oyarsa with respect and humility. He approaches the encounter with an open mind and seeks to understand the alien leader’s perspective rather than imposing his own beliefs or values. Ransom’s ability to engage in meaningful dialogue and find common ground with Oyarsa demonstrates his virtue of respect and willingness to learn from others.

Ransom’s virtuous actions in Out of the Silent Planet are evident through his willingness to help a stranger, his courage in facing dangerous situations, and his respect for beings different from himself. His selflessness, bravery, and open-mindedness showcase his moral character and make him a truly virtuous protagonist.