Epiphanies in Joyce's Dubliners and Chaucer's Canterbury Tales

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James Joyce’s Dubliners is a compilation of stories that all rely on character epiphanies in order to develop each story. These epiphanies change the tone of each story because each yields a negative change or reaction. In both “Araby” and “The Dead”, the characters realize or learn something about the world around them, which makes them second guess either themselves or the reason behind their actions. Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales contains at least one tale that relies on an epiphany to help develop theme but it doesn’t change the tone or course of the story, it just helps to portray the true meaning of the character. The Pardoner becomes a deeper character because of his epiphany, which is what makes it important to the rest of…show more content…
Another factor that could possibly have helped to cause the Pardoner’s epiphany is the pilgrimage, he feels the need to repent for all his hypocrisy and scams so his soul doesn’t “go a-blackberrying”(pg 511, ll 78) when he dies. The Pardoner’s epiphany doesn’t change the course or the tone of the tale in itself, because he continues to act the way he usually does in regards to his relics and pardons. However, at the end of the tale the way he acts towards the travelers is just a cover of how he is truly feeling.
The situation is different in Joyce’s Dubliners. Each story involves an epiphany that causes the character to have a negative outlook on life. It changes the tone of the story completely. For example, in “Araby” a young boy has a negative experience at a bazaar, which alters his view of the world. He just wanted to impress an older girl that he loved because she couldn’t go to Araby at all. He was so excited and mesmerized by the thought of the bazaar and possibly even winning the girl’s love, that even “the syllables of the word Araby were called to me through the silence in which my soul luxuriated and cast an Eastern enchantment over me”(pg 17). However, the atmosphere of Araby was the exact opposite of what the boy had been imagining because it wasn’t exotic at all. Plus, it was dark and empty because he arrived around
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