In the novel To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, the character that best represents courage is Atticus Finch. He is not only a great father, a good role model, and very respectful but also a courageous man. Even in times of need Atticus is still courageous and upholds his morals to respect people no matter what colour, race, or religion they come from. This is a very difficult task for Atticus as he is always ridiculed by the rest of the town for his views, which also puts his family in risk due to the amount of backlash he receives from the rest of the town.The type of courage that he shows is “knowing you are licked before you begin”(Lee 149).Atticus demonstrates this courage in the book when he defends Tom Robinson in court, shoots the rabid dog, and he does not discriminate people based on their skin colour.
Atticus is appointed to take the case of Tom Robinson who has been accused of raping a white woman. He could have turned it down but he chooses to take up the offer, although he knows he is not going to win, he wants to demonstrate to his children what real courage. Knowing the consequences of taking the case his still chooses to represent Tom Robinson. Even his own family does not approve of him taking this case, his sister voices her concern for Atticus’s actions telling him that he is bringing a bad name to the Finch name. He cannot go a day without being referred to as a “nigger lover” which does not bother him because he thinks the term does not mean anything but just a word to discourage individuals trying to take a stand against racism. Taking the case also put his families lives in danger of people who did not agree with Atticus’s views. After losing the case Atticus visits Tom’s cell in prison where he is then confronted by the mob, knowing he is outnumbered and could easily be overpowered by the mob, he calmly deescalate the situation using his words which is true courage.
When Calpurnia alerts Atticus of a rabid dog roaming the street, the sheriff and Atticus arrive on the scene. The sheriff requests that Atticus shoots the dog, Atticus has not shot a gun in a very long time. He is taking a risk of shooting the dog because if he misses he will aggravate the dog more and put himself and his family in more danger. Even though Atticus believes that courage is more mental than physical, he shoots the dog not for his children to think he is a “cool” father but for the safety of the people of Maycomb County.