The Fisherman and His Soul

by

Oscar Wilde

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The Priest Character Analysis

For the majority of the story the Priest is an aggressive and stern character, whose devotion to God prevents him from appreciating love in all its forms and from embracing all of God’s creatures on earth. He refuses to help the Fisherman to send away his Soul so that he can be with the Mermaid, instead vehemently declaring romantic love “vile.” By the end of the story, however, he undergoes a kind of spiritual transformation after encountering the flowers that have grown out of the Fisherman and the Mermaid’s grave, and blesses “all the thing’s in God’s world.”

The Priest Quotes in The Fisherman and His Soul

The The Fisherman and His Soul quotes below are all either spoken by The Priest or refer to The Priest. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
The Power of Love Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Dover Thrift Editions edition of The Fisherman and His Soul published in 2012.
The Fisherman and His Soul Quotes

“The love of the body is vile,” cried the Priest […] “and vile and evil are the pagan things God suffers to wander through His world. Accursed be the Fauns of the woodland, and accursed by the singers of the sea! They are lost […] For them there is no heaven or nor hell, and in neither shall they praise God’s name.”

Related Characters: The Priest (speaker), The Fisherman, The Mermaid
Page Number: 84
Explanation and Analysis:

And when he had robed himself with his robes, and entered in and bowed himself before the altar, he saw that the altar was covered with strange flowers that never had been seen before […] But the beauty of the white flowers troubled him, and their odour was sweet in his nostrils, and there came another word into his lips, and he spake not of the wrath of God, but of the God whose name is Love. And why he so spake, he knew not […] And in the morning […] he went forth […] and blessed the sea, and all the wild things that are in it […] All the things in God's world he blessed, and the people were filled with joy and wonder.

Related Characters: The Fisherman, The Mermaid, The Priest
Related Symbols: The Flowers
Page Number: 116
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire The Fisherman and His Soul LitChart as a printable PDF.
The Fisherman and His Soul PDF

The Priest Character Timeline in The Fisherman and His Soul

The timeline below shows where the character The Priest appears in The Fisherman and His Soul. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
The Fisherman and His Soul
The Power of Love Theme Icon
Christianity, Morality, and the Soul Theme Icon
Early the next morning, the Fisherman goes to the Priest and asks him how he can send away his soul so that he can be... (full context)
Christianity, Morality, and the Soul Theme Icon
...worth a clipped piece of silver.” The Fisherman reflects on how strange it is that the Priest has told him the soul is the most valuable thing imaginable, while the merchants have... (full context)
The Power of Love Theme Icon
Transformation and the Doppelganger Theme Icon
Christianity, Morality, and the Soul Theme Icon
The next morning, the Priest comes down to bless the sea, but seeing the drowned Fisherman clutching the body of... (full context)
The Power of Love Theme Icon
Transformation and the Doppelganger Theme Icon
Christianity, Morality, and the Soul Theme Icon
When the people come to the chapel, the Priest finds he cannot speak “of the wrath of God, but of the God whose name... (full context)