The former tenant of the narrator’s house, who died in the drawing room. He is mentioned because some of his belongings still remain at the house, including three books that the narrator takes interest in: The Abbot (a romance novel by Sir Walter Scott), The Devout Communicant (a work of Catholic devotional literature), and The Memoirs of Vidocq (a detective’s memoir). These are significant because they are odd selections for a priest’s home library, and they imply that the priest indulged in religious as well as non-religious literature. It is in the room where the priest died that the narrator admits that he thinks he loves Mangan’s sister in a prayer-like way. The priest mostly serves as a point of moral comparison – all of these objects imply that the priest had a life outside of the church, that he rode a bicycle (but perhaps only in secret, as the bicycle pump is hiding under a bush), and read crime and romance novels. This calls into question the reliability of the Catholic Church and implies that perhaps “priest” is just a job that ends at the end of the workday like any other.
The timeline below shows where the character The priest appears in Araby. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.