Misogyny in Ireland: An Essay on “The Dead” by James Joyce College

In the short story “The Dead,” James Joyce displays his character Gabriel as pretentious and misogynistic through emphasizing his wealth, education, and presumed superiority to the women in his society. Gabriel, who requires constant reassurance from women to feel validated, uses his intellect and money to remain superior to the various female characters. Joyce juxtaposes Gabriel’s character to many women to emphasize his superiority complex by using dominant female characters who continuously humiliate him, causing Gabriel to over-use his arrogant tendencies. Thus, Joyce critiques the way in which men traditionally dominate women in society by de-familiarizing submissive women and replacing them with these dominant and outspoken women with whom Gabriel must interact. Joyce also created this character to force his readers to anticipate the inevitability of tragedy as foreshadowed by Shakespeare references, and by Gabriel's wife Gretta for the ultimate revenge; the death of love.

Throughout the story, there are many moments when Gabriel humiliates women. This is one obvious way Joyce that chose to enhance his critique of the typical way men treated women in the early 20th century. Joyce defamiliarizes the typical submissive...

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