What is a character sketch of Peter Gilligan from the poem "The Ballad of Father Gilligan"?

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Michael Ugulini eNotes educator| Certified Educator
  1. The character sketch of Peter Gilligan from the poem “The Ballad of Father Gilligan” by William Butler Yeats includes the following:
  2. Father Peter Gilligan is elderly.
  3. He is always weary and is also worn down because many of his parishioners are dead.
  4. He is weary from serving his flock as well, in particular handling the needs of the poor.
  5. 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.
  6. In his mind he wants to serve God, but his body, his physical strength is being sapped from him.
  7. He is a devout man and devotes time to prayer.
  8. He carries on in his pastoral duties even though he’s tired physically and suffers mental distress.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. He has faith and believes that God has and continues to care and protect him.
Read the study guide:
The Lake Isle of Innisfree

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