Irony In 'A Portrait Of The Musician As A Man'

James Joyce's A Portrait of the Designer as a Young Man portrays the life of Stephen Dedalus who is a young musician that is clean and idealistic. As he matures, Stephen identifies the way the world filled with injustice and disharmony has numerous shortcomings and that it's imperfect. His experience along with his home, school, chapel, relationship with his girlfriend, Ireland's record and present fortifies his understanding. Yet, his self confidence for his acknowledgement of the blemish filled world corrupts him with arrogance and haughtiness that he himself isn't able to find his own shortcomings. These shortcomings become a catalyst in the novel for Stephen to escape and criticize the present world more.

His father's whistle, his mother's mutterings, the screech of the unseen maniac were to him now so many voices offending and threatening to humble the pride of his young ones. He drove their echoes even out of his heart and soul with an execration; but, as he walked down the avenue and sensed the grey morning hours light slipping about him through the dripping trees and shrubs and smelt the unusual untamed smell of the wet leaves and bark, his spirit was loosed of her miseries. (Joyce 135).

'Home' has brought the idea of dissatisfaction with the earth. Yet, this dissatisfaction expands to his region Ireland. Stephen thinks for the reason that his difference, his ideals, his abilities are restrained by Ireland and he needs to escape to satisfy his needs. "It has a slow-moving and dark beginning, more mysterious than the labor and birth of your body. When the heart of a guy exists in this country there are nets flung at it to carry it again from journey. You talk to me of nationality, language, religion. I will make an effort to fly by those nets" (Joyce 157). Stephen's hatred for Ireland is nearly an allusion for his hatred and despair toward the earth. "Will you know what Ireland is? asked Stephen with cold violence. Ireland is the old sow that eats her farrow"(Joyce 157).

These influx of influences firmly built Stephens knowledge of the flawed world. He believes that he could deny and replace the flawed world with a global with complete form by his use of creative creation, justice, and harmony. This overbearing self-confidence later on develops into arrogance deteriorating his eyesight to see his own flaws and shortcomings. He denies neither to be social nor to be the norm. Stephens's denial to blend in the community started out before he was even conscious about his ideals and despair on the world. " She too needs me to capture your hands on her, he thought. That is why she came with me to the tram. I possibly could easily catch hold of her when she comes up to my step: no person is looking. I possibly could keep her and kiss her. But he do neither: and, when he was resting together in the deserted tram, he tore his solution into shreds and stared gloomily at the corrugated footboard" (Joyce 52). From his young ones Stephen was enthusiastic about his own ideas of art work and beauty, which separated him from real human community and produce the idea to look at only the shortcomings of the world he lives in. Stephen's refusal to unite offers an irony about how he aspires to improve the flawed world yet he himself is skeptical of getting started with the community.

Stephen's piety is also a concern for in his life he contributes himself enthusiastically in spiritual confessions.

He knelt prior to the altar with his classmates, positioning the altar cloth with them over a living rail of hands. His hands were trembling and his heart and soul trembled as he read the priest go away with the ciborium from communicant to communicant. Corpus Domini nostril Can it be? He knelt there sinless and timid; and he would hold after his tongue the host and God would enter into his purified body. In vitam eternam. Amen Another life! A life of grace and virtue and contentment! It was true. It was not a aspiration from which he'd wake. Days gone by was earlier. Corpus Domini nostri. The ciborium acquired come to him. (Joyce 112).

Yet, in the end, he shows his hatred toward religious beliefs which is an irony. "Their uninteresting piety and the sickly smell of the cheap hair-oil with that they had anointed their mind repelled him from the altar they prayed at" (Joyce 79).

Stephen also used the phrase "I will not provide that where I no longer believe, whether it call itself my home, my fatherland, or my church: and I'll try to share myself in some setting of life or art work as openly as I can so when wholly as I can, using for my defense the only hands I allow myself to use - silence, exile, and cunning" (Joyce 191). Which is a phrase produced from Lucifer. He declares that he himself is a normal pagan who also worships beauty yet, he does not keep his words dragging himself down because of his intellectual arrogance.

Stephen's inability to see his shortcomings but to be on and proceed along with his ideals truly shows an image of a separate young musician. Overall the booklet, presents a sympathetic portrait of the studies of a delicate, intellectual son as he matures, and it is at once an attempt to comprehend the young man even though it has to expose a few of his many faults such as his arrogance and haughtiness.

Work Cited

Joyce, James. A Portrait of the Artist as a Man. NY: Penguin Literature, 2003. Print out.

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