Cathedral Questions and Answers
by Raymond Carver

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In Raymond Carver's "Cathedral," what is the story's dominate conflict, and in light of this, who or what would be considered the antagonist?

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A conflict arises with the confrontation of two opposing parties. Generally the conflict includes the protagonist pitted against an antagonist, whether it be represented as his conscience, nature, God, society or self.

In "Cathedral" by Raymond Carver, the conflict is man vs self. Robert, an old blind friend of the narrator's wife is coming for a visit. His wife has recently died. The narrator is angry that the man is coming and is hostile toward him. At first it seems that he is jealous of the attention his wife is giving Robert. However, I believe that the conflict is within the narrator, not with Robert. The narrator has certain perceptions about Robert, his wife, how Robert should act, how the narrator should fit into the picture, etc. The problem is his own; but throughout, Robert is very gracious about it all.

Because the conflict is man vs self, interestingly, I find that the antagonist is the narrator —or more specifically, his anger with Robert, which may simply be a manifestation of...

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