Chapter 1: Telemachus
Chapter 2: Nestor
Chapter 3: Proteus
Chapter 4: Calypso
Chapter 5: The Lotus-Eaters
Chapter 6: Hades
Chapter 7: Aeolus
Chapter 8: The Lestrygonians
Chapter 9: Scylla and Charybdis
Chapter 10: The Wandering Rocks
Chapter 11: Sirens
Chapter 12: The Cyclops
Chapter 13: Nausicaa
Chapter 14: Oxen of the Sun
Chapter 15: Circe
It is no seceret that James Joyce's novel Ulysses mimics Homer's Odyssey. Joyce planned for the novel to be a mock heroic epic; he created characters that resembled Homer's, included Homer's major themes like the quest for a father and the intervention of gods, there are some similar situations in both works only Joyce's are modernized to the early 1900's in Ireland. Also to parallel Homer's story Joyce includes many Greek allusions and allusions to the many political happings during the time, these correspond with Homer's stories of the gods and goddesses and other people of mythological importance. Planned out with annonated notebooks Joyce writes his Odyssey to be like the original.
In regards to the book in general: first, Joyce never divided the books up into chapters, this was a later addition; in most editions the book is divided up into eighteen parts all titled for its signaficant other in the Odyssey. Secondly, the book can be seen as three seperate stories like the Odyssey.
The three parts of the Odyssey are entitled "The Quest of Telemachus", "The Wanderings of Odysseus", and "The Return and Vegeance" which correspond to chapters one through three, four through fifteen, and sixteen to eighteen, respectively. Back to top
In Homer's epic Telemachus is worried about his country falling into ruin because of the many suitors who are using all his family's resources. Also he worries about his father, Odysseus, will he return to Ithaca or is he dead. In "Telemachus" of Ulysses the character Stephen Dedalus leaves Martello Tower because of happenings that morning.
Dedalus feels that he is being forced out of his home, Martello Tower, by Buck Mulligan and Haines. This is signaficant because Martello Tower can be seen as the Ithaca of Stephen's world,and Mulligan and Haines can be seen as the reveling suitors that tax the resources of Telemachus. Mulligan, the Antonius of the story, and Haines live off Stephen's rent and "bum" money off Stephen for drinks and food. Through this Mulligan takes the form of Antonius, both deride Telemachus,jesting at his losses and troubles. Also Mulligan jests about Stephen losing his motherto death, this isequivelent to the suitors requests of Penelope's hand in marriage.
Athene is also found in this chapter. In the Odyssey she comes to Telemachus as a friend of his father's, in Ulyses she is in the personage of the old milklady. In Stephen's eye the milklady appears as a lady who could have been great and beautiful in her youth. Many times the Greeks imagined their gods taking the form of elderly or of beggers, also Greeks saw godlyhood through the eyes and Stephen sees "something" in the milklady's eyes too. Joyce adds Athene to give Stephen a mentor throughout the chapter.
At the end of the chapter Stephen leaves the key to Martello Tower with Mulligan. This can be seen as Telemachus leaving Ithaca to find his father. It also sets up the question that worried Joyce who will rule the Ireland, the cosmic Ithaca. Ireland at the time was a wastland of society and was in low-esteem of other nations. Ithaca was also a dry and barren land which can be seen as a land unfertile because of the loss of a masculine figure head. Walking away from the tower Stephen goes to start his journey.
Other allusions arise throughout this chapter. First, the motif that Stephen has bad eyesight and so does Joyce - without their glasses they are relatively blind like Homer is thought to be. Next, the tension between the Saxons and the Irish, this can be seen as the trouble between the Greeks and Trojans, and also that of Ithaca towards the suitors. Stephen's dirty noserags can be seen as Odysseus' tattered clothing. Also Mulligan makes fun of Stephen's Greek name - Dedalus, the scientist who built the labyrinth and wings of wax and feather. Mulligan also wishes to teach Stephen the Greek language and to read the originals meaning the classics, faintly alluding to Homer's epics. There are many other allusions that refer to a false father theme and further question a similarity between Ireland and Ithaca, yet those are so numerous it is better to read the book. Back to top
This chapter begins at Headmaster Garrett Deasy's school where Dedalus has a job as a teacher. Here he teaches a class of half-hearted students who want to play field hockey. After a short lecture and questions, Stephen allows them to go to the field; Stephen now must talk to Deasy and receive a lecture himself.
The lecture is about Pyrrhus, the Greek hero who defeated the Romans after losing large numbers of his army (a Pyrrhic victory). This is a major Greek allusion and can be seen as a hidden motif - staying with a hopeless task: the father theme. Also it brings up the question: was the victory at Troy worth all the death it caused? In the lecture about Pyrrhus James Joyce basically questions Homer's ideals of the Trojan War.
The chapter is titled "Nestor" because of Deasy's character who represnts Nestor of Pylos. In the Odyssey, Telemachus travels to Nestor's kingdom first to ask if he has any information of Odysseus since the war. Nestor is aged, yet wishes to still fight and Homer tells that it was him that kept the order among the many military principals at Troy. Deasy like Nestor is a former soldier, yet doesn't restore order to an army but to a hockey field. He states, "I like to break a lance with you, old as I am", to Stephen signafing that he stil has the will to fight . Nestor also is a rhetorican who spoke with an element of yammering and nonsense, this is shown when Deasy writes a essay on foot and mouth disease and fills it with many cliches and statements that double back on themselves. Also the Nestor-Deasy character gives Telemachus-Stephen usefull materials; in the Odyssey Telemachus receives a chariot and the son of Nestor to accompany him to Sparta, and Stephen is given only a meager salary. Finally Deasy describes the affair of Paris and Helen along with Irish stories of faithless wives to Dedalus. This is alike to Nestor telling Telemachus about Helen's story and Agamemnon's death by his wife. Furthermore it can be seen as Nestor mentioning that Telemachus should go to Menalus, the king of Sparta, who saw Odysseus last. Joyce purposely created Deasy to match Nestor for a transition of thought and meaning into latter paragraphs. Back to top
This chapter is an extreme flow of the consious minds, what Joyce aimed the novel to be. In this chapter Stephen Dedalus decides what to do before meeting Mulligan at the Ship Pub at 12:30 pm. His mood changes dramatically as he sees two females walking along the beach, and when he worries about a dog he sees in the distance. The chapter refers to Proteus, a god of the sea, who can change his shape at will. While at Menealus' palace Telemachus is tld about Menealus' encounter with the divinty. The chapter is also called this because of its flow and change of Stephen's thoughts.
The lost father theme is expanded in this chapter. Stephen worries about what his father would say of him if he goes to his Uncle's house. This is similar to Telemachus' feelings before he meets Menealus and Helen. Stephen also remembers Kevin Egan, an Irish nationalist. This creates a false father for Stephen. It can be seen also as Athene being Mentor to Telemachus; and furthermore it can be seen as the destructive force of the suitors in Ithaca who are men and create a subistive father theme. Stephen notes that he feels the sea drowning him and he must mature or be drowned by the waters of life. This is seen as Telemachus needing to mature and become a man without the help and presence of his father.
Menealus is aslo characterized in this chapter by Ulysses character Richie Goulding, Stephen's Uncle. Goulding has trouble with the seductive forces of acholol which devestate his family and household. This is a pararelle with Menaelus' wife Helen and how she caused a ten year war because she ran away with Paris. Stephen is worried of going to his Uncle's house because his father would be angry at him. This also parallels Telemachus' concerns about meeting Menealus because his father might feel resentment for Menealus bringing the Greeks to war and that Telemachus might not conduct himself properly.
Finally the last great allusion to The Odyssey is wine-dark sea. In The Odyssey wine-dark is commonly used as an epithet for the sea. In this chapter as Stephen's mind wonders he thinks of the sea. "...oinopa ponton, a wine-dark sea." Which recalls the reader to the first chapter where Mulligan tells Stephen, "The snotgreen sea. The scrotumtightening sea. Epi oinopa ponton [the wine-dark sea]." Joyce, then, uses his own epithet for the sea - snotgreen for The Odyssey's wine-dark. Back to top
In this chapter Joyce gives Mooly Bloom, the wife of the protaginist Leopold Bloom, the attributes of both Calypso and Penelope. He feels trapped by her love (Calypso), but helplessy devoted to her (Penelope). Leopold is likened to Odysseus by both being wanderers; Odysseus is a sailor trying to reach home, and Bloom the archetpyical wandering Jew. Both characters are keyless trying to reach their destinations: Odysseus - wife and country searching, Bloom literally without the key to his apartment and if his wife is going to cheat on him. Most of the qualties between the characters Bloom and Molly and generalites of thier equals in the Odyssey.
Other parallels would include: Zeus' edict to Calypso to let Odysses go is compareable to Blazes Boylan and Molly's upcoming affair - she is letting Bloom leave. Bloom becomes distressed when a cloud passes over the sun, this is a pun on sun it can be seen as losing sight of his son: Odysseus hasn't seen him for over nineteen years. And it is curiously noted that Bloom lost his son to death. A painting entitled Bath of the Nymph hangs over the Blooms' bed and reminds the reader of Calypso being a nymph. Back to top
This chapter is basically a generalization of the Odyssey. The whole chapter is a microcosm of Odysseus wanderings. Bloom journies around Dublin and sees vaious stores and shops this can be seen as Odysseus travels to various islands and places of civilization. Also the atmosphere of the chapter correspondes with the drugged personalities of the Lotus-Eaters. The chapter is filled with many drug motives like nicotine, lotus (opium), and Christianity. The epitome of the Lotus-Eaters of the cheiftan of the tribe would be F.W. Sweeny the pharamist that Bloom goes to. Back to top
This chapter is about Odysseus/Bloom going to the underworld. Bloom's travels into the cemetary resemble that of Odysseus, he must cross the four rivers of Hades sees a Sisyphus character named Martin Cunningham who pawns his furniture every week to pay for his drunken wife's rants, Cerberus - Father Coffey who is described as this guard dog, and various spirits met in Hades.
For one there is the mysterious character in the Macintosh coat. This man is either death himself or Ajax who is angry at Odysses for taking Achilles armor and therefore won't talk to Odysses/Bloom.
Other similarites are the protagonists memories of the past and dead love ones. Bloom's and Odysseus' dogs who have died: Bloom's Athos and Odysseus' Athos. And the reoccuring theme of the appearing Athene character - an old motherly women figure. Back to top
In the Odyssey, Odysseus finds his way to Aeolus' palace and stays awhile there. Aeolus decides to help Odysseus by giving him a sack of the harmful winds that would bar Odysseus from returning home, to Ithaca. This chapter follows the Odyssey with bold headlines that simulate the winds of the world; they represent, also, the "windy" times Bloom is facing. Another allusion to the wind theme are the characters' personalities who are harsh and ever changing like the wind. An earlier motif, the loss of the key, is here expanded with a Mr. Keyes his advertisement for the "House of Keys" - a tea and coffee house. Back to top
The corresponding episode in the Odyssey is about a tribe of cannibals who eat a good number of his men. The chapter in Ulysses is scattered with allusions to food and eating, also the chapter shows people's eating habits and how they can be disgusting. Alluding to the disgusting habits of cannibals.
Many themes throughout this chapter are ones established in the beginning of the novel. The lost father theme, the reader remembers the black panther theme of Haines. And the theme of the suitors, or Blazes Boylan, but Bloom remains her husband, this leads the reader into wondering if she and Boylan are going to have an affair. Back to top
Scylla and Charybdis
Scylla and Charybdis are two monsters that destroy and eat sailors traveling around the ancient seas of Greece. Odysseus chooses to have six of his man eaten by passing Scylla, a six headed monster, rather than braving Charybdis and having his ships sunk. In Ulysses the poet A.E. is the metaphorical whirlpool and Stephen can be seen as Scylla because of the constant arguing he has with his companions about Shakespeare. The six heads can be seen as Stephen and his friends - Lyster, Best, Russell, Eglinton, and Mulligan.
A parallel with the Odyssey and the Hades chapter of Ulysses is Stephen's questions and ponderings of Hamlet's father's ghost and those of his own. We are reminded by Stephen's dead mother and Odysseus seeing his mother in Hades.
Another parallel Joyce makes is that Anne Hathway reamined Shakespeare's loyal wife even though it was rumored that he had affairs with females in other counties and districts. Finally, the father theme is expanded in this chapter when, at the end of the chapter, Bloom walks between Stephen and Mulligan.
This foreshadows events that are to latter happen and symbolically causes Stephen and Mulligan to split - something they do latter. Back to top
The Wandering Rocks
This chapter has no correspondance with any episode in the Odyssey. Odysseus might have gone this way but knew it was impossible and chose to pass by Scylla and Charybdis. So the chapter serves as an interlude, a halfway point in both tales. Still the whole of the chapter is a microcosm of
Odysseus' and Bloom's travels. The chapter has nineteen parts which mimick both the Odyssey and Ulysses chapters. The characters in this chapter journey around Dublin interacting with people and problems of their own. Even Simon Dedalus, Stephen's father, is written about in the chapter, which again brings up the lost father theme; Simon is a poor drunk. Back to top
This chapter is similiar to the Odyssey only in general terms. Before leaving Circe, she tells him to beware the sirens who lead sailors and their ships to rocks. She tells him to stuff his men's ears with wax as they went pass.
Odysseus being the hero he was had his men tie him to the mast of the boat and keep him there so he could hear their calls. The sirens in this chapter are, the barmaids, Lydia Douce and Mina Kennedy, and a prostitute. Them, with the power of music, make the overall experince of the sirens. Like Odysseus fleeing the sirens in his boat, Bloom flees from the prostitute at the end of the chapter. Back to top
In the Odyssey, Odysseus and his man, happen upon a cave that belongs to Polyphemus. The cyclops returns home to find Odysseus they and hold his man and him prisoner. Odysseus gorges Polyphemus' eye out while he was in a drunken stupor. Polyphemus' yells for the other cyclops and they come, but leave beacuse Polyphemus says NOMAN has injured him. The cyclops leave Polyphemus alone and Odysseus and his man leave under the bellies of Polyphemus' sheep.
In this chapter, Kiernan's pub is the metaphorical cave of the cyclops. The people in this pub are satirized by Joyce as seeing with one eye, like the cyclops, because of their narrowmindness. Another theme that is carried through this chapter are the cylindrical objects with a hot pointed tip like that of the spear that gourged out Polyphemus' eye. The reader is also reminded of Bloom's fake name whivh he uses to write romantic letters to his "pen pal" mistress, the name of Henry Flower parallels Odysseus' name of NOMAN. At the end of the chapter the cyclopian character, known only as the Citizen, thorws a biscuit at Bloom and misses. This parallels Polyphemus throwing the rock blindly at Odysseus' ships when he notices they are gone. Back to top
The parallel of this chapter with Homer is the Phaeacian Nausicaa and the Dublin Gerty MacDowell. Nausicaa awaked Odysseus by misthrowing a ball and hitting him while he was naked behind bushes. While the other girls ran in fear Nausicaa stands strong and questions Odysseus and decides to help him, telling him to go to her father's palace. Gerty MaDowell aides Bloom by enticing him into masturbation. Gerty also parallels Nausicaa by fanatsizing about marriage, which the unwed Nausicaa alludes to. Back to top
Oxen of the Sun
In the Odyssey, Odysseus' men slaughter the sun god's sacred cattle even though Odysseus warned against it. Helios then slaughters the men leaving Odysseus the only survivor of the journey. Joyce's slaughter is the Kerny cow foot and mooth disease mentioned in previous chapters by Deasy and in the Aeolus chapter. Another theme brought into the chapter is the cycle of birth, life, and death. This is shown by Mina Purefoy, who has been in labor for three days, and the characters being in the National Maternity Hospital of Dublin. At the end of the chapter Bloom decides to watch over Stephen even furthering the father theme. Bloom has choosen to take the role of Stephen's Guardian without even being asked. Back to top
Odysseus' men where turned to swine by Circe's magic, yet Odysseus never falls victim to her magic. In Ulysses Circe is Bella Cohen, a woman who keeps a brothel. Bella turns Bloom's and Stephen's campanions into pigs or animals, metaphorically, by their sexual yearnings. Back to top
Odysseus meets his swineherd, Eumaeus, after shortly arriving in Ithaca. Shortley after this Odysseus meets his son Telemachus, and they plan to slaughter the suitors in the palace. In Joyce's novel Stephen and Bloom talk in Skin-the-Goat Fitzharris' coffeehouse before going to Bloom's house. The main theme in this chapter is the wanderer's return, this is shown by the sailor W. B. Murphy who has recently returned to Ireland. This theme parrallels Odysseus/Bloom retruning home. Back to top
In the Odyssey, Odysseus and Telemachus become the true Greek father-son duo to kill the suitors. But Bloom as the anti-hero of our time and Stephen representing rashless youth, they don't unite and seem to really dislike each other. Back to top
Penelope and Odysseus reunite after the suitors are killed, but at first she doesn't know it is him until he describes the structure of their bed; something only one of them would know. This chapter then is Bloom coming to unite with his bed after a hard day. Doing this he is able to unite again with his wife.
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