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Dubliners Comparison Essay

933 words - 4 pages

'Dubliners' was published in 1914 and creates a microcosm of the state of decay and paralysis that Dublin was in, through James Joyce's 'nicely polished looking glass'. It clearly presents how the stagnant life paralysed the hopes and dreams of Dublin's inhabitants. Through realistic characters, such as Eveline, Joyce exemplifies how the city itself was the 'centre of paralysis' and thus the cause of the loss of hopes and dreams that affects so many characters in the collection.

Joyce creates Eveline as a dull and monotonous character. The story begins as she sits idle at her window, contemplating a better life. The window symbolises how Eveline, and many other characters, reflect on their own lives without the strength of purpose to bring about change. She displays an overall lack of ambition, as she watches others pass by, going somewhere with a purpose; Joyce creates a comparison with the inclusion of 'a man from Belfast', as Belfast was in a state of great change and industrialism, when in comparison Dublin was dark and repressive, thus affecting the characters ambitions and overall purpose.

On the other hand, Lady Macbeth is presented as a determined and ambitious character, with the strength of will to do anything to achieve her goals: 'And shalt be what thou art promis'd', this exclamation clearly displays her boldness. This strong and active nature is the antithesis of a normal Jacobean female and highlights Eveline's passiveness when deciding her future.

Furthermore, Eveline's overall inactiveness is emphasised when she reviews her life in Ireland. Instead of journeying forward into a new exciting life, Eveline is trapped brooding on her past; 'Father was not so bad then' she decides. This statement, lacking in any enthusiasm, reinforces Eveline's lack of ambition and her willingness to continue her repetitive existence in Dublin. Contextually, at the beginning of the 20th Century, women had some freedom, as they were able to work outside the home, however they were without strength to strive for better.

In stark contrast, Lady Macbeth completely disregards the strong social expectations set upon her; with no intention of accepting her normal life. She strives for the highest possible goal, royalty, and goes to any length to see her goals met; 'Come, you spirits that tendon mortal thoughts, unsex me here' she boldly exclaimed. However, this statement demonstrates that as a woman she was powerless, and thus she needed to be 'unsexed' to achieve her goals.

Indeed, Eveline is portrayed as a simple puppet, dragged along by the men in her life and by Dublin itself in a mundane, repetitive play. She is the embodiment of a typical woman of her times, following the set traditions such as doing the housework. In fact, she feels the urge for marriage, simply because 'people would treat her with respect then'. It was an established role of...

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