Walter shandy is the father of Tristram Shandy and the brother of Toby Shandy. Walter is a man of unending philosophies and theories about almost anything and everything. He loves to argue with others on different topics and believes himself to know it all. However he spends most of his time in planning and discussing about the topic rather than actually doing it. He has an opinion about everything from political causes to academic theories. He believes that allowing women to gain more control in the marriage would prove to be fatal to the ‘monarchical system of domestic government created by God’. It means that the Shandy Hall is a Kingdom where Walter Shandy rules as the king. He would not let his wife for someone else interfere in his governance.
Walter Sandy as a father can be seen as a serious and quite dedicated one. From the time of conception to naming and education of his son Tristram, his father Walter pays a lot of attention in the details. However instead of actually making things happen Walter Sandy ruins it all by giving more attention in the theoretical aspects. He creates a blunder while conceiving Tristram, by delaying the action. Again he also creates a misunderstanding while naming him. After Tristram is born, Walter Sandy does not spend his time in playing with his son. Instead he begins to write ‘Trista-Paedia’, an encyclopaedia about different ways on how to give his child proper education and support. The irony to this context is that Walter Sandy doesn’t actually give this education to his son but only publish it in his book. Thus through these incidence we can see that Walter Shandy is a man of words rather than actions.
In the novel much of the humour is derived from the character of Walter Sandy. However as an individual he isn’t funny or humorous. He doesn’t joke around but is a boring person. But through his illogical theories and silly behaviour the novel generate it’s humour from this character. Walter has a good relationship with his brother Toby. When Toby suffers injury Walter looks after him. Toby always consults Walter when he is confused.
If we look at the past of Walter Shandy, it is mentioned that he was a ‘Turkey Merchant’. He did business of buying and selling goods from the middle East. Finally he retired in his paternal estate. Now he wants his son to get every advantage in life. He doesn’t want him to be deprived of anything. However he seldom actually pays attention in the practical aspect, which is a huge negative trait of his character.