A Portrait Of The Artist As A Young Man: Themes Developed Through Allusions To Classical Mythology


A Portrait of the Artist As A Young Man: Themes Developed Through Allusions to
James Joyce's A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man is a novel of
complex themes developed through frequent allusions to classical mythology. The
myth of Daedalus and Icarus serves as a structuring element in the novel,
uniting the central themes of individual rebellion and discovery, producing a
work of literature that illuminates the motivations of an artist, and the
development of his individual philosophy.
James Joyce chose the name Stephen Dedalus to link his hero with the
mythical Greek hero, Daedalus. In Greek myth, Daedalus was an architect,
inventor, and artisan. By request of King Minos, Daedalus ...

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cautious father flew to safety (World Book 3). By using this myth in A
Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (Portrait of the Artist), Joyce succeeds
in giving definitive treatment to an archetype that was well established long
before the twentieth century (Beebe 163).
The Daedalus myth gives a basic structure to Portrait of the Artist.
From the beginning, Stephen, like most young people, is caught in a maze, just
as his namesake Daedalus was. The schools are a maze of corridors; Dublin is a
maze of streets. Stephen's mind itself is a convoluted maze filled with dead
ends and circular reasoning (Hackett 203):

Met her today point blank in Grafton Street. The crowd brought us together. We
both stopped. She asked me why I never came, said she had heard all sorts of
stories about me. This was only to gain time. Asked me, was I writing poems?
About whom? I asked her. This confused her more and I felt sorry and mean.
Turned off that valve at once and opened the ...

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and religion. In a
sense, Portrait of the Artist is a search for identity; Stephen searches for the
meaning of his strange name (Litz 70). Like Daedalus, he will fashion his own
wings -- of poetry, not of wax -- as a creative artist. But at times Stephen
feels like Icarus, the son who, if he does not heed his father's advice, may die
for his stubborn pride (Litz 71). At the end of Portrait of the Artist, he
seems to be calling on a substitute, spiritual parent for support, when he
refers to Daedalus as "old father, old artificer."(Joyce 247),(Ellman 16). Even
at Stephen's moment of highest decision, he thinks of himself as a direct
descendant of his namesake Daedalus (Litz ...

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PAPER DETAILS
Added: 8/21/2004 04:17:03 PM
Category: Book Reports
Type: Free Paper
Words: 2836
Pages: 11

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