Jeffrey Archer’s Danny Cartwright

Is the present day hero an embodiment of virtues? Not necessarily, as he is more practical, turns to deception and relies on opportunism. It is proved by Danny Cartwright, the protagonist, in ‘A Prisoner of Birth’. Danny acts with opportunism when he takes the place of Sir Nick Moncrieff. Though big Al insists on impersonation, the decision is Danny’s. He also does not make an attempt to ascertain the facts behind Moncrieff’s death despite his being a confidant of the deceased. Danny Cartwright also cheats on his long-term girlfriend with a stage actress. Ultimately, it turns out that Sir Moncrieff has conveniently transferred all his wealth to Cartwright. One wonders if Nick knew of his impending death or has lost all interest in life!

Novels and movies have increasingly turned pragmatic so that the audience relate to the plot. No longer is the hero an epitome of honesty, generosity and good manners. He is but a human who displays traits of both the good and the bad. The sensitive reader has to take solace in the fact that the means justify the end.

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