The Dead starts out with Gabriel and his wife attending a holiday party which is part of their routine. At the party, many events are part of their routine such as the songs, meals, and Gabriel making his annual speech. After the party is over, Gabriel notices something different about his wife Gretta, “She was leaning on the banisters, listening to something. Gabriel was surprised at her stillness and strained his ear to listen also. But he could hear little save the noise of laughter and dispute on the front steps, a few chords struck on the piano and a few notes of a man’s voice singing” (Joyce162-163). When Gabriel confronts her, she reveals that the song at the party reminded her of her past lover named Michael Furey. Moreover, she discloses that he had died because he was standing outside her window in the cold; Gretta cries herself to sleep. After this, Gabriel’s reaches his epiphany. He stares out the window and realizes that their marriage was never filled with true love. He starts to feel insecure because he feels like he was being compared to another man by Gretta their whole marriage, “While he had been full of memories of their secret life together, full of tenderness and joy and desire, she had been comparing him in her mind with another. A shameful consciousness of his own person assailed him. He saw himself as a ludicrous figure, acting as a pennyboy for his aunts, a nervous, well-meaning sentimentalist, orating to vulgarians and idealising his own clownish lusts, the pitiable fatuous fellow he had caught a glimpse of in the mirror. Instinctively he turned his back more to the light lest she might see the shame that burned upon his forehead” (Joyce 171). He starts to question his own identity. He fathoms that he isn’t as significant because he cannot separate past and present. “His soul had approached that region where dwell the vast hosts of the dead. He was conscious of, but could not apprehend, their wayward and flickering existence. His own identity was fading out into a grey impalpable world, the solid world itself, which these dead had one time reared and lived in, was dissolving and dwindling” (Joyce 173-174). He starts to evaluate his life and mortality. Gabriel Conroy’s realizes that he has been leading a customary life that is very boring and dispirited. His life is very repetitive and he actually holds no importance as he thought he did before. He realizes how shallow his emotions are, it’s as if he is numb. Gabriel epiphany is caused by sudden recall of Gretta’s old lover.
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