International Journal of Humanities and Social Science

ISSN 2220-8488 (Print), 2221-0989 (Online) 10.30845/ijhss

The Portrait of Stephen as an Existentialist
Nabil A. Jalil, Dr. Arbaayah Ali Termizi

Looking carefully at the protagonist of A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man one can see that there are certain actions and choices which Stephen does, as he progresses in life, that reflect a certain direction which Stephen is willingly steering his life towards; and that is of course to be an artist. This direction, however, may not be influenced by some outside force that pushes Stephen without him being conscious of it. Rather, it is a free choice, on Stephen’s behalf, to define his own existence and what he wants to be in life. When there is a talk about existence, the philosophy of existentialism comes to mind. Sartre has talked about the freedom and the responsibility of the individual to make his/her own choices to define his/her life. And by applying these particular concepts from Sartre, the development of the protagonist, Stephen, and his aspiration to be an artist can be seen in a different light.

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