1 Answer | Add Yours
Gabriel Conroy, as the protagonist of "The Dead", exhibits many of the qualities common to many characters in James Joyce´s collection of short stories, the Dubliners. He appears to have many different personalities - he is a caring family man to his aunts who acts as the head of the houshold by carving the goose and giving a speech. His awkwardness and perhaps anxiety is demonstrated through his relations with other female characters, such as Lily, Miss Ivors and his wife. Trying to establish a relationship with them often goes awry as he either offends or doesn´t understand them. Thus Gabriel becomes a man whose inner conflict and life battles to process and fit into the reality of the world around him. The grand event of the year, the Morkans´celebration of New Year, demonstrates that Gabriel is a social performer - he puts on a pleasing act, scrupulously monitoring his speech and thoughts, but he struggles in contexts where he cannot easily guess the other´s feelings, as in his conersation with Lily. His character is symbolic of the interaction between social isolation and personal confrontation.
As we see during Gabriel´s epiphany at the end of the story, much of his anxiety or sense of insecurity comes from this need he feels to play a part and live life in a very controlled, regulated fashion. The revelation of his wife´s relationship with Michael Furey triggers off his epiphany where he is able to see himself for the hollow man that he really is:
A shameful consciousness of his own person assailed him. He saw himself as a ludicrous figure... the pitiable fatuous fellow he had caught a glimpse of in the mirror.
He realises that because of his insecurities and his paralysis he has never really truly loved, and that Michael Furey lived a far fuller life than he has ever lived. He cannot share in the love his wife has felt because he has never truly loved.
We’ve answered 319,850 questions. We can answer yours, too.Ask a question