Stephen Dedalus

Stephen Dedalus

A thoughtful and imaginative son of the Irish Catholics, Stephen develops into a confident and independent young artist rejecting any limits to his artistic freedom. As a child, he quickly understood that the world of adults is just as cruel and unfair place as his boarding school run by the Jesuits. Disappointed in religion and the national idea, two prevailing motives at his home, Stephen chooses a deliberate isolation from his relatives and immerses into the art. With a heavy emotional baggage behind his shoulders, he picks the destiny of an independent artist, free from any dogmas and social boundaries. Stephen sees his country as a cage preventing him from personal growth and leaves Ireland to follow his dream on the continent.

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Stephen Dedalus Quotes

Did he then love the rhythmic rise and fall of words better than their associations of legend and colour? Or was it that, being as weak of sight as he was shy of mind, he drew less pleasure from the reflection of the glowing sensible world through the prism of a language manycoloured and richly storied than from the contemplation of an inner world of individual emotions mirrored perfectly in a lucid supple periodic prose?


—Then, said Cranly, you do not intend to become a protestant?—I said that I had lost the faith, Stephen answered, but not that I had lost self-respect. What kind of liberation would that be to forsake an absurdity which is logical and coherent and to embrace one which is illogical and incoherent?


It is a curious thing, do you know, Cranly said dispassionately, how your mind is supersaturated with the religion in which you say you disbelieve.


He had not died but he had faded out like a film in the sun. He had been lost or had wandered out of existence for he no longer existed. How strange to think of him passing out of existence in such a way, not by death but by fading out in the sun or by being lost and forgotten somewhere in the universe!


He would never swing the thurible before the tabernacle as priest. His destiny was to be elusive of social or religious orders. The wisdom of the priest's appeal did not touch him to the quick. He was destined to learn his own wisdom apart from others or to learn the wisdom of others himself wandering among the snares of the world.


He had known neither the pleasure of companionship with others nor the vigour of rude male health nor filial piety. Nothing stirred within his soul but a cold and cruel and loveless lust. His childhood was dead or lost and with it his soul capable of simple joys and he was drifting amid life like the barren shell of the moon.


The dull light fell more faintly upon the page whereon another equation began to unfold itself slowly and to spread abroad its widening tail. It was his own soul going forth to experience, unfolding itself sin by sin, spreading abroad the balefire o fits burning stars and folding back upon itself, fading slowly, quenching its own lights and fires. they were quenched; and the cold darkness filled chaos.


Stephen Dedalus in the Essays