Finally, Stephen’s statement is also an extremely personal one—his own history is something he is trying to overcome. Stephen, throughout Ulysses, is courageously pursuing the goal which he set for himself in A Portrait: to break free of society's nets — that is, to break free from all the forces which inhibit the growth of the soul and, by implication, the growth of the artist. 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. "History is a nightmare from which I am trying to awake."
The character of Stephen Dedalus is a harshly drawn version of Joyce himself at age twenty-two. Belonging to episode two of the novel, this is a great phrase Stephen Dedalus (Joyce's alter ego in the novel) mentions to Mr. Deasy. Professor O'Molloy and Crawford, the editor of the paper, joke with Stephen and ask what he has been writing lately. For example, he refuses to join the national movement which was developing in Ireland in 1904: Political aspirations, as Stephen knows from the fall of … This is a post in a series called Decoding Dedalus where I take a paragraph of Ulysses and give it the ol’ Frank Delaney treatment – that is, break it down line by line. Stephen Dedalus The Prequel: A Portrait of the Artist as a Slightly Older Young Man If you have read A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man , then you'll already have something of a sense for Stephen's intense, and at times impossible, personality. As an aside, if you haven’t listened to Frank Delaney’s excellent podcast, Re:Joyce, go treat yourself.His page by page analysis of Ulysses is informative and charming. SparkNotes: Ulysses: Stephen Dedalus. Stephen first appeared as the main character of A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, which followed his development from early childhood to his proud and ambitious days before leaving Dublin for Paris and the realization of his artistic capabilities. Stephen Dedalus enters the office behind O'Madden Burke. At the opening of Ulysses, Stephen is feeling particularly hopeless about the possibility of rising above the circumstances of his upbringing. Stephen is a history professor at a boy’s school directed by Garrett Deasy. The editor greets Dedalus, who gives him Deasy's article on foot and mouth disease.