Schnitzler’s Lieutenant Gustl gives way to the mind of a character of questionable moral standpoints in our modern society. Notions of antisemitism, womanizing, and aggression are the defining characteristics of the protagonist. With that being said, most of the evidence for these notions come from an inner monologue. There is argument for Gustl acting on some of the thoughts that pass through his scrambled consciousness, but much of what defines him is based in things that the the character only thinks about.
At what point do inner thoughts define one’s self? I suppose that the reinforcement of similar repetitive thoughts throughout this text give the reader an idea of the moral guidelines in which Gustl conducts himself. But lets imagine a situation where one repetitively has morally corrupt thoughts but never acts on them. If one has a belief system but for whatever reason (be it cowardliness, or ineptitude, or even laziness) never acts on what they believe in, are they accountable for those thoughts and are they representative of their personal moral distinctions?
Furthermore, thoughts of terrible and corrupt things pop into everyone’s head (a broad generalization but a likely accurate one). But I dont believe each and every thought, repetitive or singular, necessarily defines my moral distinctions or me as a person. To some extent the thoughts define a part of me, but by not acting on them even if I think I should, or I want to but I am unable, isnt that more of an accurate representation?
Does this incline the reader to be less judgmental towards Gustl?