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Gabriel is a hypocrite. Having the name of an angel and working for the Almighty, he nurtures evil desires within him. He calls others as sinners and expects punishment for them but is tortured from remorse for his own sins. He is weak and selfish. To cover up his guilt and shortcomings, he bullies his family members. When he feels helpless, he turns to god. Even in the act of surrendering to god, he nurtures feeling of ill will against Florence and John. Gabriel is a good preacher but a bad preceptor.
In youth, Gabriel had fallen into bad company and taken to evil ways. Forgetting his responsibilities towards his family, he had indulged in drinking and womanizing. Even as his mother was ill in bed and kept offering her prayer for him, he had spent his time carelessly with characterless women. His mother had been patient with him. Instead of losing her temper on him, she had made him aware of his sins through her restrained attitude. Thus, Gabriel had got reformed. Her beseeching looks and her soulful voice had melted his hardened heart and made him realize his mistake. His motherís faith and perseverance had changed him into a refined man.
After his motherís death, it is Deborah who provides him the moral strength to carry on his responsibilities towards god. She takes care of his needs and encourages him to do his best on the pulpit. When he goes up on stage to address the august gathering of Evangelists, it is Deborah who helps him read out the sermon from the Bible and explain it for the benefit of the audience. The positive aspects of Gabriel emerge under the influence of Deborah. No wonder, he feels indebted to her and marries her. However, when he cheats on her by having an affair with Esther, he is punished. Deborah serves as Gabrielís conscience. When Gabriel betrays her, he betrays himself.
Gabriel betrays the trust of all the women who love him. His mother had adored him and given him the best of life and education but he betrays her trust by indulging in all kinds of unlawful activities. Deborah is devoted to him and encourages him to do his best but Gabriel cheats her by having an affair with another woman, stealing her money and hiding the truth from her. Esther sacrifices her youth for Gabriel, but Gabriel deserts her when she needs him the most. Finally, Elizabeth marries him because she believes he would give her love and respectability that she had been denied in the past. However, Gabriel disappoints her by his autocratic behaviour and insensitivity. Gabriel, who poses to be just and merciful, behaves badly with all the women who had loved and trusted him and becomes responsible for their fate.
Gabriel does not learn from his mistakes. Even after being punished for his sins, he continues to hurt people with his unreasonable attitude. He remains arrogant and severe with his wife and children. He fails to understand their sentiments and treats them callously. He refuses to own his mistakes and correct his ways. And when someone points out his mistake, he gets angry. Even though he had committed adultery and begotten a bastard in the past, he finds it difficult to accept Elizabethís past and her son. He looks at John with suspicion and refuses to give the boy his love. Gabriel is a devil in an angelís garb. Of all the characters in the novel, it is Gabriel who needs the mercy of god to redeem his soul since he has committed more sins than others.