A Portrait of the Artist as a Young ManLiterature

Character Analysis of Stephen Dedalus

3 Mins read

To have the ability to create a portrait of Stephen Dedalus, James Joyce used his personal life and remodeled this autobiographical story into a life of Stephen Dedalus.

Stephen Dedalus is a younger boy who grapples along with his nationality, religion, household, and morality. Through the novel we comply with Stephen from his early boyhood, bullying in school, a rising disaster in his faith, and the guilt astounding his awakening sexuality and the typically precocious adventures which spring from it. This leads, within the later part of the book, to a consideration of the function of the artist and his destiny, having to go away his homeland in an effort to confront the broader world and thereby to work by the spectrum of conscience. He is the central character of A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man and a significant character in Ulysses. Both his surname and given names have symbolic significance. Stephen was the name of the first Christian martyr, stoned to demise for his non secular convictions.

Read About: Stream of Consciousness in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

Dedalus was the legendary “fabulous artificer” who made feathered wings of wax with which he and his son Icarus escaped imprisonment on the island of Crete. Like the first Christian martyr with whom he shares a given name, Stephen, in advancing a new cause, breaks from custom and faces persecution by his friends. Like Dedalus, he should use artifice and cunning to flee his personal imprisonment—by the establishments of the family, the church and Irish nationalism. Stephen writes in his diary: “Old father, old artificer, stand me now and ever in good stead”. Although he doesn’t narrate the novel, his perspective shapes the perspective of the work. As the central consciousness of A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, Stephen’s actions and attitudes set the tempo and body the development of the discourse. The book traces Stephen’s mental, creative, and ethical improvement from his earliest recollections as “Baby Tuckoo” by the assorted levels of his training at CLONGOWES WOOD COLLEGE, BELVEDERE COLLEGE, and UNIVERSITY COLLEGE, DUBLIN, to his determination to leave Ireland for the Continent. The novel additionally follows the decline of the Dedalus family from upper-middle-class respectability to abject poverty, noting the progressive alienation of Stephen from his family as a nearly inevitable consequence. These deteriorating financial circumstances develop rapidly within the second chapter, punctuated by the family’s transfer into Dublin and Simon Dedalus’s disastrous journey to Cork, accompanied by Stephen, to sell off the final of the family property. Given these occasions, it’s no shock that Stephen’s distancing from his family happens in a direct and linear style. However, his relations with the church are characterised by a a lot better degree of uncertainty and vacillation. After an interval of unrestrained sexual indulgence whereas at Belvedere, Stephen returns to the church, terrified by the pictures conjured up throughout the sermons on the retreat recounted in chapter 3. As a consequence, Stephen embarks upon a rigorous penitential routine. However, he finds that the prescribed religious works don’t give him the satisfaction for which he had hoped. By the end of chapter 4, along with his erotically charged aesthetic imaginative and prescient of the younger girl wading, the Birdgirl on Dollymount Strand.

Stephen has given himself utterly over to art. In the final chapter, quite a lot of Stephen’s college classmates try in several methods to combine him into the routine of Dublin life and thus deliver him beneath the sway of dominant Irish social, cultural, religious, and political establishments. Davin seeks to enlist him within the nationalist cause. Vincent Lynch proposes small-scale debauchery as a way of sustaining himself within the suffocating environment of Dublin middle-class life. Cranly, with maybe essentially the most seductive temptation, means that Stephen undertake the hypocrisy of superficial accommodation as a manner of liberating himself from the censure of his fellow citizens. Stephen rejects all of those alternate options and stays dedicated to his artistic vocation.

As the novel closes, he’s about to leave Dublin to reside in Paris, to aim to fly by these nets of nationality, language, and religion and, as he writes in his diary, to come across for the millionth time the truth of experience and to forge within the smithy of my soul the uncreated conscience of my race.

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