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- The character sketch of Peter Gilligan from the poem “The Ballad of Father Gilligan” by William Butler Yeats includes the following:
- Father Peter Gilligan is elderly.
- He is always weary and is also worn down because many of his parishioners are dead.
- He is weary from serving his flock as well, in particular handling the needs of the poor.
- He is tired, full of anxiety and lacks joy. However, he feels guilty that he has a somewhat bad attitude about his station in life.
- In his mind he wants to serve God, but his body, his physical strength is being sapped from him.
- He is a devout man and devotes time to prayer.
- He carries on in his pastoral duties even though he’s tired physically and suffers mental distress.
- He’s dedicated to serving others and worries when he doesn’t perform to the standards he’s set for himself. He feels distress that he fell asleep and didn’t promptly attend to a sick man’s needs. He arrived too late to the man’s home and the man had already passed away.
- He’s a man that has, in his heart, deep love for mankind, but the stress of caring for a flock has taken its toll on him.
- He has faith and believes that God has and continues to care and protect him.
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