"Temperament refers to the mode of reaction and is constitutional and not changeable; character is essentially formed by a person'sexperiences, especially of those in early life, and changeable, to some extent, by insights and new kinds of experiences. If a person has a choleric temperament, for instance, his mode of reaction is "quick and strong." But what he is quick or strong about depends on his kind of relatedness, his character. If he is a productive, just, loving person he will react quickly and strongly when he loves, when he is enraged by injustice, and when he is impressed by a new idea. If he is a destructive or sadistic character, he will be quick and strong in his destructiveness or in his cruelty. The confusion between temperament and character has had serious consequences for ethical theory. Preferences with regard to differences in temperament are mere matters of subjective taste. But differences in character are ethically of the most fundamental importance."
"As we grow older, we should learn that these are two quite different things. Character is something you forge for yourself; temperament is something you are born with and can only slightly modify. Some people have easy temperaments and weak characters; others have difficult temperaments and strong characters. We are all prone to confuse the two in assessing people we associate with. Those with easy temperaments and weak characters are more likable than admirable; those with difficult temperaments and strong characters are more admirable than likable."
"A personality is an indefinite quantum of traits which is subject to constant flux, change, and growth from the birth of the individual in the world to his death. A character, on the other hand, is a fixed and definite quantum of traits which, though it may be interpreted with slight differences from age to age and actor to actor, is nevertheless in its essentials forever fixed."
"So each man, like each plant, has his parasites. A strong, astringent, bilious nature has more truculent enemies than the slugs and moths that fret my leaves. Such a one has curculios, borers, knife-worms; a swindler ate him first, then a client, then a quack, then smooth, plausible gentlemen, bitter and selfish as Moloch."
"The magnanimous know very well that they who give time, or money, or shelter, to the stranger--so it be done for love, and not forostentation--do, as it were, put God under obligation to them, so perfect are the compensations of the universe."
"Cities force growth and make men talkative and entertaining, but they make them artificial. What possesses interest for us is thenatural of each, his constitutional excellence. This is forever a surprise, engaging and lovely; we cannot be satiated with knowing it, and about it; and it is this which the conversation with Nature cherishes and guards."
"And the glory of character is in affronting the horrors of depravity to draw thence new nobilities of power: as Art lives and thrills in new use and combining of contrasts, and mining into the dark evermore for blacker pits of night."
"Happy will that house be in which the relations are formed from character; after the highest, and not after the lowest order; thehouse in which character marries, and not confusion and a miscellany of unavowable motives."
"Nature never rhymes her children, nor makes two men alike. When we see a great man, we fancy a resemblance to some historical person, and predict the sequel of his character and fortune, a result which he is sure to disappoint. None will ever solve the problem of his character according to our prejudice, but only in his high unprecedented way."
"It always appeared to me that he estimated the compositions of Richardson too highly, and that he had an unreasonable prejudice against Fielding. In comparing these two writers, he used this expression: "that there was as great a difference between them as between a man who knew how a watch was made, and a man who could tell the hour by looking at the dial plate." This was a short and figurative state of his distinction between drawing characters of nature and characters only of manners. But I cannot help being of opinion , that the neat watches of Fielding are as well constructed as the large clocks of Richardson, and that his dial-plates are brighter."