masculinity, mythology, James Joyce


The works of James Joyce, including his short story collection Dubliners, have been studied to distraction by academics throughout the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. In this paper, I expound on ideas of Edwardian masculinity in Joyce's "The Dead," as well as the links between the myth of the Judgement of Paris and Gabriel's experience with the three key women in the story: Lily, the maid, Molly Ivors, the modern woman, and Gretta, Gabriel's wife. These women are first perceived as graces, merely ornamental figures, but they force their personhood onto Gabriel, and he is shocked by their deviation from his expectations. As Gabriel acknowledges the power of these women, he chooses between them, and, like Paris chooses Love. However, these choices have more to do with Edwardian expectations of domestic masculinity than the women themselves, to the detriment of all involved.

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