A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
by James Joyce
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Character Role Analysis

Stephen Dedalus

We were tempted to be super-sassy and provocative and put something like "God" or "Ireland" or "The World" here, but to be honest, Stephen is his own best friend and greatest enemy. Sure, Stephen vs. Stephen isn’t an all-out brawl most of the time – perhaps "frenemy" is a better word. Either way, what holds our hero back the most are his own fears and anxieties. He struggles against the perceived limitations of Irish society, Church, et cetera, but all along, his insecurities and over-active imagination are what give him the greatest difficulties.

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