“I will not attempt to play tonight the part that Paris played on another occasion. I will not attempt to choose between them. The task would be an individuous one and one beyond my poor powers. For when I view them in turn, whether it be our chief hostess herself, whose good heart, whose too good heart, has become a byword with all who know her; or her sister, who seems to be gifted with perennial youth and whose singing must have been a surprise and a revelation to us all tonight; or, last but not least, when I consider our youngest hostess, talented, cheerful, hardworking and the best of nieces, I confess, Ladies and Gentlemen, that I do not know to which of them I should award the prize” (40).
The passage demonstrates the way in which Gabriel tends to take a selfless or martyr-like attitude. Gabriel is shown to be attempting to stay as non-controversial as possible in the eyes of others. By refusing to choose a favorite of the women, it is proving that he wants to stay on everyone’s best sides.
Gabriel also tends to want to display that he puts the interests of others before his own. “Gabriel began to carve second helpings as soon as he had finished the first round without serving himself. Everyone protested loudly, so that he compromised by taking a long draught of stout, for he had found the carving hard work.” (31). However, when he wanted to make love to his wife, he was had very greedy selfish thoughts, but he resisted because it was working against his selfless image.
Overall, Gabriel is a self-conscious man. He wants to make others happy, and beats himself up when he says the wrong thing. For example, he was angry at himself for giving unsolicited hints about Lilly getting married. Gabriel’s toast to the three women describes Gabriel’s goal to make everyone happy.