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Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce - Essay Example

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This essay focuses on the analysis of the James Joyce’s Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, that centers on the religious crises of its main protagonist, namely, Stephen Dedalus, who encountered numerous crises concerning his faith in general and his humanity in particular…
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Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce
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Download file to see previous pages That is the strong pronouncement made by the protagonist in Joyce’s Portrait. Here, Stephen appears to announce something that is very important. It must be noted that the time of the announcement or revelation pronounced by the protagonist is quite telling. Similar to the Revelation in the Bible, such statement is revealed in the last passage of the piece in question. Evidently, Stephen seems to state a pronouncement like a prophet pronouncing to his people with prophetic words about the coming of days. Pericles interprets the signifier “uncreated” as God or probably His attribute. Such signifier reminds us of the theology of Saint Thomas Aquinas pertaining to the unmoved mover, a phrase that he borrowed from Aristotle. (Joyce’s novel mentions about these two giant figures at the end of it.) Like the unmoved mover, the uncreated is, I daresay, the uncreated creator. Pericles describes Joyce’s uncreated as the “source of all experience, something permanent like God” (454). Despite certain allusion to the theology of Aquinas, the theology of Stephen Dedalus is remarkably a deviance from scholasticism prominent in the Middle Ages. What Pericles calls as “heretical view” (454), Stephen holds a theological doctrine which views the soul of man as uncreated, permanent, and godlike. It must be remembered that most prophets and/or redeemers subvert the conventional wisdom of their time; Jesus, for one, subverts the dominant teachings held by the priests of His time-period. Indeed, prophets, one way or the other, are “heretics” who proclaim the salvation of man in a different, if not revolutionary, way in contrast to the dominant thought marked in such era. And...
This essay discusses that most of these religious crises, that the protagonist experienced are crises associated directly to the flesh. In Stephen’s religion, for instance, sex is sacred. That is to say, believers in this Christian dominion are forbidden to make love to other people for mere mundane pleasure. Conversely, the act of sex becomes godlike or divine only when two persons who are making love are married under the Church and are doing it for the sake of following God’s law. As an unmarried man, Stephen is obliged, by virtue of his faith, to live a sacred life. However, the protagonist finds it difficult to obey the Christian doctrine of sanctity; his bodily desire to make love with women - such as the whore in the Brothel - is greater than the desire to be virtues or holy in the eyes of the Allseeing and Allknowing God. And this is the major crisis of Stephen, namely, the crisis of the human flesh. By and large, Joyce’s Portrait focuses on the spiritual crises experienced by Stephen Dedalus. And the soulful battle of Stephen against the temptation of the human flesh has created in him a conviction or conception of being the redeemer of this world and of his Irish people. Like Saint Augustine, Stephen has sinned morally and spiritually, yet, has surpassed the determinism characterized in the human body. In conclusion, the researcher mentions that this experience convinces Stephen that he is the rightful redeemer or seer considering that he has transformed himself into the uncreated or demigod. ...Download file to see next pages Read More
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