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The Myth of Deadalus and Icarus 
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Post The Myth of Deadalus and Icarus
I have read that Joyce used the myth of Deadalus and Icarus while writing, "Portrait of and Artist as a Young Man". The theme of "labyrinth" is important in "Portrait". Stephen is trapped in his own labyrinth of religion, education and social morals.

I had no idea that Stephen Deadalus, or Dedalus, was such an important character for Joyce. I have never read, "Ulysses", but I am curious to read how he characterizes the Stephen from that novel and compare it to the Stephen from, "Portrait".

Here is link to the Deadalus and Icarus myth:
http://galev06.physics.uoc.gr/daedalus.html

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Stephen Dedalus is James Joyce's literary alter ego, appearing as the protagonist and antihero of his first, semi-autobiographical novel of artistic existence "A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man" and an important character in Joyce's "Ulysses". A number of critics, such as Harold Bloom, have named a younger Stephen as the narrator of the first three stories in "Dubliners".

In Stephen Hero, an early version of what became Portrait, Stephen's surname is spelled "Daedalus" in more precise allusion to Daedalus, the architect in Greek myth who was contracted by King Minos to build the Labyrinth in which he would imprison his wife's son the Minotaur. Buck Mulligan makes reference to the mythological namesake in "Ulysses", telling Stephen, "Your absurd name, an ancient Greek!". In revising the mammoth Stephen Hero into the considerably more compact, "Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man", Joyce shortened the name to "Dedalus".


http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stephen_Dedalus



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Tue Jul 23, 2013 12:18 pm
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Post Re: The Myth of Deadalus and Icarus
Suzanne wrote:
I have read that Joyce used the myth of Deadalus and Icarus while writing, "Portrait of and Artist as a Young Man". The theme of "labyrinth" is important in "Portrait". Stephen is trapped in his own labyrinth of religion, education and social morals.

I had no idea that Stephen Deadalus, or Dedalus, was such an important character for Joyce. I have never read, "Ulysses", but I am curious to read how he characterizes the Stephen from that novel and compare it to the Stephen from, "Portrait".



Thanks for that link, Suzanne. You do get the idea that Joyce is operating on a higher plane than us regular mortals. I love the idea that some of Joyce's themes are based on Greek mythology.

Young Stephen Dedalus does seem conflicted with some of the religious notions of this time period. At school, when he hears about the theft and vandalism of the rector's room, he is at first appalled, but later as he thinks about it, he's a bit in awe of the deed. Joyce is great at fleshing out the protagonist's inner thoughts.

Quote:
A faint sickness of awe made him feel weak. How could they have done that? He thought of the dark silent sacristy. There were dark wooden presses there where the crimped surplices lay quietly folded. It was not the chapel but still you had to speak under your breath. It was a holy place.


then . . .

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That must have been a terrible sin, to go in there quietly at night, to open the dark press and steal the flashing gold thing into which God was put on the altar in the middle of flowers and candles at benediction while the incense went up in clouds at both sides as the fellow swung the censer and Dominic Kelly sang the first part by himself in the choir. But God was not in it of course when they stole it. But still it was a strange and a great sin even to touch it. He thought of it with deep awe; a terrible and strange sin: it thrilled him to think of it in the silence when the pens scraped lightly.


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