“Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins. My sin, my soul. Lo-lee-ta.”
When it comes to an interesting character voice – for me, nothing beats the character of Prof. Humbert Humbert from Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita. Arguably, he can be seen as nothing but a disturbed pedophile but no one can deny how good he is in the command of the language (credits go for Tolstoy here) – something in the way Humbert Humbert talks will persuade anyone that he is at the mercy of his own fantasies about the “nymphets” and thus, at some point, he can be seen as a sympathetic character.
A multifaceted character indeed, you can see him as an intellectual person, an academic and educated scholar, a critic, a complicated and controlling character of his own, a solipsistic one who believes he has those “gloomy good looks”, a uncanny person who mocks himself for doing things that are not accepted by the society, and finally a man who has intermittent sporadic thoughts about sexual fantasies brought about by an unconsummated romantic affair when he was young.
Humbert Humbert’s beautiful prose will surely wheedle you out of the troubling thoughts that he has for Lolita, yet you would feel that his own articulation of his fantasies, miseries, and desires is more that just superficial sweet talk – it can also be taken as an unconscious effort to overcome an all-consuming psychological problem from a traumatic unsatisfied childhood.