Atticus Finch is a respectful individual because he follows his conscience by choosing to defend a black man in front of a prejudiced jury. Despite the overwhelming odds against him winning the case, Atticus accepts the challenge because it is the right thing to do. He does not listen to the racist community members and fearlessly defends Tom Robinson several times throughout the novel. Atticus does not compromise his morals and stands up for his beliefs. Atticus is also respected because he is a fair man. He gives people the benefit of the doubt and is a tolerant, empathetic individual. He accepts Walter Cunningham's form of payment, helps Mrs. Dubose break her addiction, and represents Maycomb in the Alabama legislature. Atticus is an honest man who is trusted with great responsibility throughout his community which is why he is respected.
The character is larger than life not because we are told he is by the narrator, but because we read in between the lines and follow his actions, his thoughts, his ideals. What is admirable in the character is that his values are universal values. A man moved by his conscience and ready to take on the majority rule of his town, his region, and his country, can only be a madman or a man of right. Just as the Greek god Prometheus suffered eternal damnation for bringing fire and light to the humanity, Atticus Finch more than to simply curse the darkness of his personal demise, lit a match and brought the light of understanding to that little Southern town, Macomb, in the State of Alabama, in the deep South of the United States.
“Son, I told you that if you hadn’t lost your head I’d have made you go read to her. I wanted you to see something about her-I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It’s when you know you’re licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what. You rarely win, but sometimes you do. Mrs. Dubose won, all ninety-eight pounds of her. According to her views, she died beholden to nothing and nobody. She was the bravest person I ever knew.”