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Ulysses Summary


Here you will find a Ulysses summary (James Joyce's book).
We begin with a summary of the entire book, and then you can read each individual chapter's summary by visiting the links on the "Chapters" section.

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Last Updated: Monday 1 Jan, 2024

Ulysses Summary Overview

On the morning of June 16, 1904, Stephen Dedalus finds himself distant from his friend, Buck Mulligan, and Buck's English companion, Haines, who continue to mock him. He then goes off to teach a history class at a boys' school, receives his pay from the school's director, and agrees to deliver a letter on his behalf. He spends the rest of his morning strolling alone, reflecting, and composing poetry. Meanwhile, Leopold Bloom takes care of breakfast for his wife, Molly, and suspects an affair between her and her concert manager, Blazes Boylan. Bloom later collects an affectionate letter from a woman named Martha Clifford, with whom he communicates under a false name. By mid-morning, Bloom is found accompanying Stephen’s father and other men to a funeral. He is seen as an outsider in this group. He then proceeds to a newspaper office to negotiate an advertisement for a liquor merchant. Stephen arrives with the letter he was tasked with delivering and leaves for the pub just as Bloom returns. However, his negotiation for the advertisement is dismissed. Bloom then encounters an old love interest, has lunch, and runs into Boylan, forcing him to hide in a museum. Around the same time, Stephen is found at the National Library discussing his theory on Shakespeare’s “Hamlet”. In the late afternoon, Bloom watches Boylan from a hotel bar before writing a letter to Martha and heading to a pub to discuss family finances with a friend. He stands up against a nationalistic man targeting his Jewish heritage before leaving in a carriage. Bloom then unwinds on the beach where he secretly watches a young woman and later falls asleep. He wakes and visits a maternity hospital where he encounters Stephen and his friends, who are celebrating despite a woman’s ongoing labor. Stephen drunkenly lashes out at a brothel, resulting in an altercation with a British soldier. Bloom takes Stephen to a shelter to recover and invites him home. Despite Stephen's refusal to stay the night, Bloom is content and falls asleep after recounting his day to Molly. However, Molly stays awake, reminiscing about her past, her affair with Boylan, and her relationship with Bloom.

episode 1

At 8:00 AM, Buck Mulligan performs a mock mass on the roof of the Martello tower in Dublin, inviting Stephen Dedalus to join him. Stephen, however, is irritated due to Haines, an Englishman Buck invited to stay with them, who had woken him up during the night with screams from a nightmare. The men gaze out at the ocean, referred to by Buck as a great mother. This triggers a memory of Stephen's refusal to pray at his deceased mother's deathbed, an act that incurred his aunt's anger. Stephen, still in mourning attire, thinks about his mother's death as Buck teases him about his worn-out clothes. Buck hands Stephen a broken mirror to look at himself, jokingly suggesting it could symbolize Irish art. Buck then proposes that they could transform Ireland into a cultural hub like Greece. He also offers to scare Haines if he bothers Stephen, reminding him of Buck's prank on a former classmate, Clive Kempthorpe. In response to Buck's question about his silence, Stephen reveals his resentment towards Buck for disrespectfully describing his late mother as “beastly dead.” Buck attempts to defend himself, then advises Stephen to let go of his pride. Descending into the tower, Buck unknowingly sings a song Stephen had sung to his dying mother. Stephen feels haunted by her memory. Buck calls Stephen for breakfast and advises him to request money from Haines who admires Stephen’s Irish wit, but Stephen refuses. At breakfast, Haines informs them of the approaching milk woman, triggering Buck to crack a joke about her. As the milk woman enters, Stephen views her as a representation of Ireland. He feels upset that she respects Buck, a medical student, more than him. Haines tries to speak Irish to her, but she confuses it for French. After she leaves, Haines expresses his wish to compile a book of Stephen’s sayings. Buck reprimands Stephen for his rudeness to Haines, which may cost them the chance of receiving money. The three men then head towards the water. Stephen reveals that he rents the tower and discusses his Hamlet theory. Haines likens the tower to Hamlet’s Elsinore. As they walk, Stephen foresees Buck asking for the tower key, and Haines questions Stephen about his religious beliefs. Stephen envisions England, the Catholic Church, and Ireland as masters obstructing his freedom of thought. Haines attempts to pacify the situation by blaming history for Irish servitude. Stephen recalls a recent drowning incident. Reaching the water, they find Buck preparing to swim with two others, including a friend who shares news of a mutual friend, Bannon, who now has a girlfriend named Milly Bloom. Buck dives into the water as Haines rests. Stephen announces his departure. Buck asks for the tower key and some money for a pint and asks Stephen to meet him at The Ship, a pub, at 12:30. Stephen walks away, vowing not to return to the tower that night, believing it has been taken over by Buck, the “Usurper.”

episode 2

During a history lesson on Pyrrhus's victory, Stephen, the teacher, finds the students undisciplined. He humorously expands on a student's mistaken answer, envisaging himself later sharing this joke with Haines. He ponders, is history inevitable or just one possible outcome? As he guides the class through Milton's Lycidas, Stephen dwells on his thoughts about history, shaped by Aristotle's works he previously read. He draws a comparison from Milton's poem to God's influence on mankind. Before the class disperses, he shares an obscure riddle, amusing himself. As the students depart, Sargent stays back for help with math. Stephen assists him while musing on the unconditional love a mother must feel for her child, even one as unattractive as Sargent. He sees a reflection of his own bumbling childhood self in Sargent. Afterward, Stephen moves to Deasy's office to await the schoolmaster who's resolving a hockey dispute. Mr. Deasy pays Stephen, lectures him on financial responsibility, and flaunts his savings box. Stephen, in response, mentally tallies his own debts. Deasy, assuming Stephen to be a Fenian, believes he's perceived as an English loyalist. He tries to validate his Irish roots and requests Stephen's help in publishing his letter in the newspaper. Stephen listens to cheers from the hockey field while reviewing Deasy's letter, warning against foot-and-mouth disease in cattle. The letter also blames Jews for economic corruption. Stephen counters that greed isn't exclusive to any race but Deasy persists, accusing Jews of sinning against "the light." Stephen remembers Jewish merchants in Paris and questions Deasy's claim, arguing everyone has sinned. He dismisses Deasy's historical perspective, declaring, "History is a nightmare from which I am trying to awake." As a hockey goal is scored outside, Stephen compares God to "a shout in the street," countering Deasy's spiritual interpretation of history. Deasy blames women for introducing sin and causing historical disasters. Deasy predicts Stephen's teaching career will be short-lived, to which Stephen responds he might be a learner rather than a teacher. He agrees to try to publish Deasy's letter and departs, ruminating on his subservience to Deasy. Deasy makes a final comment about Jews being absent from Ireland due to exclusion.

episode 3

While at the beach, Stephen ponders over the disparity between the physical world and how it is perceived. He shuts his eyes and listens to the sounds around him. On opening his eyes, he sees two midwives and imagines one of them carrying a miscarried fetus. He dreams up a scenario where he uses an umbilical cord like a telephone to connect with "Edenville". He pictures Eve's belly without a navel and reflects on women's original sin and his own conception. He contrasts his creation with Christ's divine conception. Feeling the sea breeze, Stephen recalls his pending tasks of delivering Deasy's letter to the newspaper and meeting Buck at The Ship pub. He contemplates visiting his aunt Sara but is deterred by the thought of his father's scorn for her husband, Richie. He envisions a visit to his aunt's house with Richie greeting him from bed due to his back ailment. Emerging from his daydream, Stephen remembers his childhood disdain for his own family and thinks of Jonathan Swift's disgust for humanity. He passes the turnoff for his aunt's house and starts thinking about pigeons and the Virgin Mary's claim of pregnancy caused by a pigeon. His thoughts then shift to his time in Paris as a poor medical student and his sudden return due to his mother's illness. Stephen reflects on the experience of Paris and his conversations with Kevin Egan about nationalism, French customs, and Irish youth. He walks to the sea, vowing not to sleep at the Martello tower tonight. Observing a dead dog's carcass and a live dog running towards him, he imagines the first Viking invasion in Dublin. Stephen's fear of the approaching dog leads him to question if he's a pretender, like many in history. He notices the dog's owners, two shellfish gatherers. The dog, after sniffing at the carcass and being chastised, urinates and starts digging. This reminds Stephen of a riddle about a fox burying his grandmother. Stephen attempts to recall a dream from the previous night about a man leading him on a red carpet. Observing the female shellfish gatherer rekindles memories of a previous sexual encounter. He starts constructing a poem in his head, yearning for affection. Lying down, he contemplates his borrowed boots and small feet which once fit into a woman's shoes. He urinates, thinks of the dead man's body, picks his nose, and leaves, looking to see if anyone noticed. He spots a ship approaching.

episode 4

Leopold Bloom prepares breakfast for his spouse Molly and their cat. He ponders about how he may appear to the cat and how it uses its whiskers while feeding. Deciding on his own breakfast, he tiptoes upstairs to inquire from Molly if she needs anything from outside, to which she mutters a no. He reflects on their bed, which Molly brought from Gibraltar, where Major Tweedy, her father, raised her. Bloom ensures he has a note and his lucky potato in his hat. He also reminds himself to get his house keys from upstairs before he leaves. Outdoors, Bloom looks forward to the warmth of the black attire he'll wear to Paddy Dignam’s funeral. He fantasizes about walking around the globe's middle section in front of the sun to remain the same age while contemplating on Eastern landscapes. However, he realizes that his thoughts are mere fictions. He walks past Larry O’Rourke’s pub, contemplates about stopping to discuss Dignam’s funeral, but ends up wishing O’Rourke a good day. He also ponders on how small pub owners manage to profit considering the numerous pubs in Dublin. As he passes a school, he hears students reciting the alphabet and Irish place names, leading him to fancy his own Irish place name, “Slive Bloom.” Upon reaching Dlugacz’s butcher shop, Bloom hopes the woman in front of him doesn’t buy the last kidney. He reads ads on a piece of the wrapping newspaper she left behind. After buying the kidney, he lingers to watch her hips as she walks home but gives up and continues reading the newspaper which talks about fruit plantations in Palestine. He then passes a familiar man who doesn't notice him. As a cloud obscures the sun, Bloom's thoughts turn melancholic, contemplating the desolation of the Middle East and the plight of the Jews. He resolves to start his morning workouts again, then considers a vacant property on his street, and finally his wife Molly. The sun reappears, and a blond girl dashes past him. At home, Bloom finds letters and a card. He suspects one letter is from Blazes Boylan, Molly’s coworker and possible lover. He gives Molly the letter and a card from their daughter Milly. Molly hides Boylan’s letter under her pillow and reads Milly’s card. Bloom then heads downstairs to prepare tea and kidney, while reading his letter from Milly. Bloom serves Molly breakfast in bed and they discuss her letters. Molly will sing at a concert that afternoon and needs a book, which Bloom fetches. Molly inquires about the word “metempsychosis” from the book. Bloom simplifies it to mean reincarnation and uses a nymph painting as an example. Molly then requests another book by Paul de Kock. The smell of a burning kidney takes Bloom back to the kitchen. After salvaging it, he eats while going through Milly’s letter again. Milly thanks him for her birthday gift and mentions a boyfriend, Bannon. He reminisces about her childhood, their son Rudy who died shortly after birth, and Milly's growing charm. He also speculates about Boylan's potential impact on Milly, which leaves him feeling helpless and remorseful. He contemplates a visit to Milly. Finally, Bloom grabs a magazine and heads to the outhouse. He thinks about his garden and reads the story Matcham’s Masterstroke. Pleased with his bowel regularity, he finishes the story and considers writing his own for money. He uses a section of the story as toilet paper and reminds himself to check the funeral time. The sound of church bells triggers thoughts of Dignam.

episode 5

Bloom meanders his way to the city center post office, lost in thoughts of the funeral he is set to attend, and the myriad of individuals he walks past. Observing packet labels at the Belfast and Oriental Tea Company, he retrieves a postal card for his alias, Henry Flower. He gets lost in thoughts of the East, fueled by the tea labels. He discreetly enters the post office and collects a letter addressed to his pseudonym. Upon exiting the post office, he attempts to read his letter, but is interrupted by McCoy. Bloom engages in chit-chat with McCoy, all the while trying to understand something pinned to the letter in his pocket. As Bloom's attention is drawn to a sophisticated woman across the street, McCoy discusses Paddy Dignam’s death, based on information from Bantam Lyons. Bloom's attempt to see the woman step into a cab is thwarted by a passing tram. Meanwhile, he reads an ad in his newspaper: “What is a home without / Plumtree’s Potted Meat? / Incomplete. / With it an abode of bliss.” Bloom and McCoy discuss Molly’s imminent concert tour, and Bloom tactfully avoids talking about Boylan's involvement in the tour. McCoy, leaving, asks Bloom to register his name in Dignam’s funeral record. Once alone, Bloom reflects on the poor singing talent of McCoy's wife. Bloom's attention is caught by a play poster for Leah. This revives memories of his father's death, and he finally opens his letter. Sent by his secret penpal Martha Clifford, she requests to meet in person, scolds him for his explicit language, and asks about his wife's perfume. Bloom doesn't intend to meet her but contemplates on how to word his next letter. He retrieves a flower pin from the letter and ponders on the variety of women's clothing pins. He is reminded of a song titled “O, Mairy lost the pin of her drawers. . .” and muses about the names Martha and Mary, and a painting featuring the biblical sisters. Under a railway bridge, Bloom discards the envelope from Martha. He enters a church through the backdoor, glances at a missionary notice, and ponders on methods of propagating religion. Inside, he appreciates the proximity to attractive women that churches offer. Sitting down, he contemplates the sense of belonging that comes with communion. He reflects on Martha's contradictory behavior - scolding him for his language but wanting to meet a married man. This reminds him of the duplicitous Carey, a seemingly respectable figure involved in the Phoenix Park murders. He watches the priest cleanse the wine chalice and questions their choice of beverage. Looking at the choir loft, he thinks of Molly's rendition of the Stabat Mater. As the ceremony concludes, Bloom admires the concept of confession and reform. Leaving before the collection, he checks the time and heads to Sweny’s to order Molly’s lotion, realizing he has left the recipe and his keys at home. At the chemist’s, Bloom ponders on alchemy and sedatives. He appreciates Molly’s skin while the chemist searches for the lotion recipe. Selecting a lemon soap, he promises to come back later for the lotion and to pay for both items. Upon leaving, he bumps into Bantam Lyons. Lyons borrows Bloom’s newspaper to check a horse race result. Misinterpreting Bloom’s indifference towards the paper as a racing tip, Lyons thanks him and rushes off. Disgusted with the obsession with betting, Bloom proceeds to the public baths, criticizing a poorly executed advertisement for college sports. He greets the porter, Hornblower, and looks forward to his bath.

episode 6

Bloom, Martin Cunningham, Jack Power, and Simon Dedalus head to Dignam’s funeral in a carriage. During their ride, they spot Stephen which prompts a discussion on his company. Bloom empathizes with Stephen, comparing him to his late son, Rudy. They also talk about Dan Dawson’s speech, but decide it's inappropriate to read at that moment. Bloom, meanwhile, checks obituaries and muses over Boylan's impending visit. Seeing Boylan on the street unnerves Bloom who fails to comprehend his wife Molly and Boylan's relationship. Power's reference to Molly as Madame adds to Bloom's unease. The carriage passes Reuben J. Dodd, a loathed moneylender. The men share a laugh over a story about Dodd’s son. The mood, however, turns sombre as they remember Dignam. Bloom comments that Dignam died the best way, quickly and painlessly. This opinion is silently countered by the others due to their Catholic beliefs about sudden death. When suicide is declared the worst death, Cunningham tactfully argues for sympathy, knowing Bloom’s father committed suicide. A cattle crossing halts the carriage momentarily. Bloom wonders why there is no tramline for the cattle, sparking a conversation about funeral trams. The topic takes a morbid turn as Bloom imagines Dignam’s body tumbling out of his coffin in a crash. The sight of a canal reminds Bloom of his daughter Milly in Mullingar and he contemplates visiting her. They pass the house where a famous murder occurred which garners everyone's attention. Upon arriving at the church, Cunningham informs Power about Bloom’s father’s suicide. Bloom asks about Dignam’s insurance and learns that Cunningham is raising funds for Dignam’s children. Inside, Bloom observes the ceremony with unfamiliarity. Afterwards, they head to the gravesite. On the way, Dedalus, overwhelmed by the sight of his mother’s grave, breaks down. The undertaker, Corny Kelleher, and a man named John Henry Menton, who questions Bloom's identity, join them. Menton reminisces about a dance with Molly and questions her choice of marrying Bloom. The cemetery caretaker, John O’Connell, lightens the atmosphere with a joke. Bloom ponders over O’Connell’s life and envisions a system where human bodies fertilize gardens. He also imagines a more efficient arrangement of burying bodies vertically, drawing inspiration from Hamlet's grave-digging scene. While gathered around the grave, Bloom spots an unknown man in a macintosh and speculates about his identity. The thought of his own burial site, shared with his mother and son, fills him with fear. A reporter, Hynes, approaches him for his full name and inquires about the man in the macintosh. After the grave is filled, Bloom walks through the cemetery, contemplating on the waste of money on luxurious graves and the need for more informative gravestones. His thoughts take a dark turn, reflecting on necrophilia, ghosts, hell, and the closeness of death. As he leaves, Bloom points out a dent in Menton's hat, only to be ignored.

episode 7

This section unfolds in the Freeman newspaper offices, with newspaper-like headlines dividing the episode. It follows Bloom as he navigates the busy streets of Dublin, retrieving a copy of his Keyes advertisement in the Freeman's back office. He also visits the Telegraph offices, overseen by the same management as the Freeman. There, he encounters the foreman, City Councillor Nanetti, a native Italian but Irish by preference. Nanetti and Hynes are discussing the recent funeral of Dignam. Bloom tries to subtly remind Hynes of a debt owed, but to no avail. Bloom details the new Keyes ad design, featuring two crossed keys signifying the independent parliament of the Isle of Man and consequently, the aspiration of Irish self-government. Nanetti instructs Bloom to acquire a copy of the design and ensure three months of advertisement from Keyes. Bloom then moves towards the staff offices, observing the typesetting process and reminiscing about his father reading Hebrew. Within the Evening Telegraph office, he comes across Professor MacHugh and Simon Dedalus engaged in a discussion with Ned Lambert, who is ridiculing Dan Dawson's melodramatic patriotic speech. J.J. O’Molloy enters, his past as a once-promising lawyer and his current financial issues coming to Bloom's mind. The mockery of Dawson's speech continues. Bloom agrees but acknowledges that such speeches are often well-received in person. Dedalus and Lambert leave for a drink while Bloom tries to reach Keyes by phone. Lenehan enters with the sports edition and predicts Sceptre's victory in the upcoming horserace. Bloom fails to connect with Keyes and upon re-entry, crosses paths with Lenehan. Bloom informs Crawford of his plans to finalize the Keyes ad, but Crawford remains indifferent. Later, the staff notices newsboys imitating Bloom's distinctive walk. O’Molloy shares a cigarette with MacHugh, while Lenehan awaits an offer. Crawford and MacHugh exchange banter about the Roman Empire. Lenehan attempts to share a riddle but is ignored. O’Madden Burke steps in with Stephen Dedalus, who hands over Deasy’s letter to Crawford, who agrees to publish it. MacHugh argues about the similarities between Greeks and Irish, both dominated by other cultures but retaining a unique spirituality. The room buzzes with diverse talents. Bloom is associated with the art of advertising, and Molly Bloom is mentioned for her vocal talent. Crawford requests Stephen to write something for the paper. A discussion about the 1882 Phoenix Park murders ensues. O’Molloy and Stephen discuss the mystical poet A.E. MacHugh passionately recites John F. Taylor’s speech about the Irish language revival. Stephen suggests they continue their conversation in a pub. Stephen shares a cryptic story about two old virgins, climbing Nelson’s pillar to enjoy the view of Dublin and eat plums. Meanwhile, Bloom, attempting to get approval for a two-month Keyes ad renewal, is dismissed by Crawford. Crawford also refuses to lend money to O’Molloy. The story of the two old women concludes with them spitting plum seeds from the top of the pillar. The listeners are perplexed as Stephen titles his tale “A Pisgah Sight of Palestine” or “The Parable of the Plums.” MacHugh laughs, understanding the joke. Lastly, the trams and vehicles in the city continue their journey.

episode 8

Bloom strolls by a sweet shop, a stranger gives him a flyer for a visiting U.S. evangelist. Bloom initially mistakes the flyer's text, “Blood of the Lamb,” for his own name. He encounters Dilly Dedalus, feeling compassion for the motherless Dedalus family. Pondering the Catholic Church's stance on birth control, he crosses O’Connell bridge, discards the flyer, and buys cakes for the gulls. Seeing an ad on a boat, he considers unconventional advertising spots, like STD information in bathrooms. He reflects on the astronomy term “parallax” and the morning's discourse on “metempsychosis.” Men advertising Hely’s pass him, triggering a memory of his rejected marketing idea. Bloom cross paths with Josie Breen, an old flame, now married to the unstable Denis Breen, who's obsessed with a cryptic postcard reading “u.p.: up.” They discuss Mina Purefoy's prolonged labor. Another eccentric Dubliner, Cashel Boyle O'Connor Fitzmaurice Tisdall Farrell, struts by. Moving on, he recalls the personal ad he once posted in the Irish Times leading him to Martha. His mind shifts to Mina's endless pregnancies. He observes some policemen, recalling how he once saw them chase anti-British medical students. He contemplates traitors like Carey and disloyal servants. When a cloud obscures the sun, he gloomily ponders the recurring cycles of life and death. He then sees A.E. and a scruffy woman, possibly Lizzie Twigg. At an optician’s shop, he again contemplates parallax and eclipses and performs a mini experiment. He reminisces about a moonlit night with Molly and Boylan. Passing Bob Doran on a drinking spree, he muses on men's dependency on alcohol for socializing. Feeling famished, he steps into Burton restaurant but is repulsed by the men's rude eating habits, and leaves for a lighter meal at Davy Byrne’s. At Davy Byrne’s, Nosey Flynn quizzes him about Molly's singing tour and Boylan, reminding Bloom of Boylan's visit. They discuss the Gold Cup race as Bloom eats. He examines the canned food, ponders about edibles, spots two stuck flies, and recalls a romantic moment with Molly. He ends up equating beauty with untouchable goddesses like museum statues, and decides to sneak a peek under their robes. He finishes his glass and visits the restroom. Davy Byrne and Flynn gossip about Bloom; his career, Freemasonry, sobriety, and contractual reluctance. Paddy Leonard, Bantam Lyons, and Tom Rochford walk in, order drinks, and talk about Lyons's race bet. As Bloom exits, Lyons hints at receiving a betting tip from Bloom. Outside, Bloom plans to visit the library to check the Keyes ad. He helps a blind man across an intersection, contemplating heightened senses. Seeing Boylan, he panics and hides in the National Museum's gates.

episode 9

Stephen, in the National Library director's office, presents his interpretation of "Hamlet" to John Eglinton, A.E., and Lyster. He argues that Shakespeare identified with Hamlet's father, not Hamlet, which frustrates the older men who are used to traditional interpretations of Shakespeare. Eglinton mocks Stephen’s lack of literary achievements, and A.E. criticizes his approach of biographical criticism. In his defense, Stephen highlights that even Aristotle was once a student of Plato. Mr. Best, another librarian, joins and Stephen continues his theory, drawing a picture of Shakespeare's London. He argues that the characters in "Hamlet" represent Shakespeare's own family - Hamlet is his late son, Hamnet, and the unfaithful Gertrude is his adulterous wife, Ann Hathaway. A.E. disagrees, emphasizing that a critic should focus on the artwork, not the artist's personal life. Stephen mentions he owes A.E. money. Eglinton dismisses Ann Hathaway as inconsequential and a mistake in Shakespeare's life. Stephen retorts that geniuses don't make mistakes and suggests Ann seduced a young Shakespeare. A.E. leaves, and Stephen expresses resentment at being excluded from a poetry collection that A.E. is compiling and their social circle. The argument resumes with Eglinton stating that Hamlet is a reflection of Shakespeare himself. Stephen argues that Shakespeare's genius allowed him to bring many characters to life. He further discusses Ann Hathaway's infidelity and how it influenced Shakespeare's works. He believes that Shakespeare's middle plays are tragedies due to his wife's adultery and his later, lighter plays suggest a reconciliation within his family. Stephen proposes that the ghost of Hamlet's father knows of his murder and his wife's betrayal because the character is a part of Shakespeare. Buck, who was listening, applauds Stephen sarcastically and reveals a cryptic telegram from Stephen. Buck teases Stephen for not showing up for a meeting with him and Haines. Buck recognizes Bloom, a library patron, standing in the hallway and accuses him of being a homosexual. Stephen carries on with his theory, suggesting that while Shakespeare was unfaithful in London, Hathaway was unfaithful in Stratford. This could explain her limited presence in Shakespeare's plays. He also mentions Shakespeare’s will, which only left Hathaway his “second-best bed.” Eglinton offers a different interpretation, suggesting that Hamlet's father's ghost represents Shakespeare's father. Stephen dismisses this idea, arguing that the ghost represents an aged Shakespeare, not his father. He further dismisses the significance of fathers, saying they are linked to their children only through a brief act of sex. Stephen suggests that Hathaway cheated on Shakespeare with his brothers, Edmund and Richard, who are represented in Shakespeare’s plays as unfaithful or treacherous brothers. When questioned by Eglinton about his belief in his own theory, Stephen denies it. Buck and Stephen leave the library for a drink. Buck teases Eglinton and recites a play he's been writing. As they leave, Stephen senses Bloom behind him. Buck jokes about Bloom's alleged homosexuality as Stephen leaves, feeling drained.

episode 10

This part of the story highlights nineteen short scenes featuring different characters as they navigate Dublin during the afternoon. It doesn't include the other simultaneous happenings in the city. Father John Conmee, on a mission to secure a free school admission for Patrick Dignam’s son, leaves his Dublin parish to head to a suburban school. During his journey, he encounters various individuals, reflects on a blackface minstrel poster, and blesses a young couple he finds emerging from a hedge. Corny Kelleher inspects a coffin lid and engages in idle chatter with a cop. The one-legged sailor he met earlier is seen begging on Eccles street, receiving a coin flung from a window by a woman’s (Molly’s) arm. The Dedalus sisters, Katey and Boody, find themselves in a dire financial state, relying on charity for food. Their other sister Maggy reveals that Dilly has gone to find their father, Simon Dedalus. The piece of paper Bloom discarded in Episode Eight is seen drifting down the river. A store employee prepares Blazes Boylan's food order, tolerating his inappropriate behavior. Meanwhile, Stephen encounters his voice teacher, Almidano Artifoni, who encourages him to consider a music career in Dublin. Boylan's secretary, Miss Dunne, daydreams about her evening plans before confirming an appointment for Boylan. J.J. O’Molloy and Ned Lambert guide Reverend Love around Saint Mary’s Abbey, while also discussing O’Molloy’s financial woes. Tom Rochford reveals his new betting tool invention to Nosey Flynn, McCoy, and Lenehan. After checking the betting odds, the men notice Bloom shopping at a book cart. While Lenehan gossips about Molly, McCoy comes to Bloom's defense. Bloom ends up buying a book called Sweets of Sin. Dilly Dedalus waits for her father at Dillon’s auction rooms, asking him for money. After receiving a shilling, she is left disappointed as he abruptly leaves. Meanwhile, the viceregal parade has started its journey across the town. Tom Kernan passes by a historical execution site and sees the parade, but it's too late to wave. Stephen, while browsing a book cart, is approached by his sister Dilly who asks him about a French primer. He sees his cleverness in Dilly and contemplates whether to help or abandon his family. Simon Dedalus and Bob Cowley meet and discuss Cowley’s outstanding debt. Meanwhile, Martin Cunningham and others are collecting donations for the Dignam children, with Bloom’s generous contribution noted. Buck Mulligan and Haines sit in a cafe, discussing Stephen’s mental state and doubting his potential as a poet. Tisdall Farrell, walking behind Almidano Artifoni, bumps into the blind man Bloom helped previously. Patrick Dignam Jr., carrying pork steaks, wonders if his schoolmates know about his father's death. He recalls his last memory of his father, drunk and heading to the pub. The journey of the viceregal parade, featuring several notable figures, is tracked as it travels to the Mirus bazaar, passing many of the characters featured in this section.

episode 11

In Episode Eleven, disjointed phrases open the scene, hinting at later events. The narrative frequently gets interrupted by descriptions of happenings at other locations. Barmaids Lydia Douce and Mina Kennedy from the Ormond Hotel try to see the viceregal cavalcade, and then chat over tea. At the same time, Bloom strolls past nearby shops. Simon Dedalus and Lenehan enter the Ormond bar looking for Boylan. The barmaids serve them and discuss the blind piano tuner who visited earlier. Dedalus tries the freshly tuned piano while Boylan flirts with Miss Kennedy. They wait for the Gold Cup race results. Bloom notices Boylan’s car while buying notepaper to write to Martha. Aware of Boylan’s imminent meeting with Molly, Bloom decides to shadow the car to the Ormond Hotel. There, he agrees to dine with Richie Goulding, intending to observe Boylan. Boylan and Lenehan exit and pass Bob Cowley and Ben Dollard entering. In the dining room, waiter Pat gets Bloom and Goulding's orders. Hearing Boylan’s car leaving, Bloom becomes anxious. In the bar, Dedalus and Dollard talk about past concerts and a time Dollard borrowed evening clothes from the Blooms’ shop. The men speak of Molly approvingly. The narrative is interspersed with the sound of Boylan’s car and its progression towards the Blooms’. Dollard sings “Love and War,” which Bloom hears from the dining room and recalls a night Dollard borrowed clothes from Molly’s shop. Dedalus is persuaded to sing “M’appari.” Goulding and Bloom each reflect on past opera experiences. Bloom shows empathy for Goulding’s back pain, but also thinks Goulding lies a lot. Bloom considers Dedalus’s squandered talent due to alcohol and is surprised when Dedalus sings a song from Martha. Moved by the music, Bloom remembers his initial encounter with Molly. Tom Kernan walks into the bar as the song finishes. Bloom contemplates the Dedalus-Goulding relationship and, pondering on “M’appari’s” gloomy lyrics, he thinks about death and Dignam's funeral. He also ponders about the mathematics of music, and Milly’s lack of musical taste. Bloom begins a letter to Martha, flirts a bit, and includes a half-crown. Though he covers his page with the newspaper and tells Goulding he is responding to an ad, he feels uninspired with the task. A repetitive “tap” is introduced as the blind piano tuner returns for his forgotten tuning fork. Bloom sees Miss Douce flirting and thinks about the universality of music, women’s singing, and the sensual nature of acoustic music. He pictures Boylan meeting Molly, and indeed, Boylan is currently at the Blooms' door. Kernan asks for “The Croppy Boy” to be sung. Bloom prepares to depart, leaving Goulding disappointed. Everyone listens quietly to the song. Bloom watches Miss Douce, wondering if she notices him, and reflects on his own limited family lineage. Finally, Bloom excites himself to leave. After saying goodbye to Goulding and collecting his stuff, he slips out just before the song ends to applause. Walking to the post office, Bloom feels bloated from the cider and regrets agreeing to meet Cunningham at five about the Dignams’ insurance policy. He doubts that the Croppy Boy wouldn't have realized that the priest was a disguised British soldier. Back at the Ormond, someone tells Dedalus that Bloom was there and has left. They discuss Bloom and Molly’s singing skills. The blind piano tuner finally gets his tuning fork. Bloom sees Bridie Kelly, a local prostitute he once knew, and avoids her by looking at a picture of Robert Emmet in a shop window. He reads Emmet's famous last words to himself while discretely farting, thanks to a passing tram's noise.

episode 12

In this part of the story, an anonymous narrator recounts his day. This includes encounters with various characters, and parodies of Irish mythology, legalese, journalism, and biblical references. He meets Joe Hynes and they decide to grab a drink at Barney Kiernan’s bar. As they make their way there, they pass a lively marketplace depicted in a manner reminiscent of ancient Celtic tales. At the bar, they meet the citizen and his dog, Garryowen, who are humorously described. The arrival of Alf Bergan, who mocks Denis Breen and orders a drink, sparks a round of stories and conversation. Bloom, who is seen pacing outside, is the subject of the citizen's disdain. The group then shares tales about Paddy Dignam, and Bob Doran, known for his yearly drinking spree, makes a loud commentary on God's cruelty. Bloom then enters the bar, intending to meet Martin Cunningham. He declines a drink offered by Hynes and the group starts discussing hangings and capital punishment. Bloom tries to make a point about hangings, but is interrupted by the citizen's nationalistic views. The conversation shifts to Bloom not buying drinks and the complexity of insurance policies. The men then talk about Nannetti's mayoral candidacy, sports, and Boylan's and Molly’s upcoming concert tour. The narrator suspects an affair between Boylan and Molly. With the entry of J.J. O’Molloy and Ned Lambert, the topic changes to Denis Breen’s peculiar behavior. The citizen continues to make anti-Semitic and xenophobic comments, which Bloom ignores. As more people arrive, they discuss the Gold Cup race and Ireland's nationalistic struggles. Bloom argues against the cycle of hatred and declares his Irish nationality by birth and Jewish allegiance. He then leaves to find Cunningham, subject to ridicule by the citizen. The group speculates that Bloom is off to collect his betting winnings. As they gossip about Bloom, the narrator steps outside briefly. Upon returning, he finds Cunningham, Power, and Crofton have arrived. They continue the discussion about Bloom, his Hungarian roots, and potential infidelity, with Cunningham calling for kindness towards Bloom. Bloom returns to the bar just as the atmosphere gets hostile. Cunningham quickly ushers him, Power, and Crofton out. The citizen now openly mocks Bloom's Jewish heritage. Bloom retorts by listing famous Jews, including Christ. This angers the citizen, who hurls a biscuit tin after their car. The episode ends with a biblical-style depiction of Bloom as Elijah, rising to heaven in a chariot.

episode 13

Bloom finds himself on Sandymount Strand, near a local church, watching three women - Cissy Caffrey, Edy Boardman, and Gerty MacDowell – as they care for the kids they're babysitting. Gerty, thought of as a beauty, is a bit distant from the others as she imagines a life with a man of her dreams. Her friends' crass behaviour in the presence of Bloom embarrasses her. A prayer meeting initiates at the nearby church. The kids playfully kick a ball that ends up under Gerty's skirt, which Bloom retrieves. Bloom's melancholic countenance makes Gerty feel a compassionate attraction towards him, which she expresses by subtly showing off her physical beauty. She hopes for the others to leave so that she can continue interacting with Bloom. However, Bloom's watch has stopped, altering her plans. She begins to wonder about his life. As the others prepare to depart, they get engrossed in the fireworks from a local bazaar. Gerty stays back, revealing her legs while watching the fireworks. Bloom experiences sensual pleasure from her display, but afterwards realizes that Gerty has a limp. His reactions range from shock to relief and he becomes reflective about women's sexual desires and their competitive friendships. Bloom tidies up and muses over his attraction towards Gerty. He contemplates the possibility of her being aware of his arousal and compares her smell with Molly's. He suddenly remembers that he needs to buy Molly's lotion. A passerby arouses Bloom's curiosity and he imagines writing a story about him. He then contemplates the science of light, the memory of a day he spent with Molly and his reluctance to return home. He rationalizes a previous incident at Barney Kiernan's and envisions a dream he had about Molly. He picks up a stick to write a message in the sand for Gerty but stops midway due to lack of space. He erases the letters and throws the stick. Feeling drowsy, he decides to take a nap and his thoughts blur as he drifts into sleep.

episode 14

This section of Ulysses explores the evolution of English prose, using various styles from multiple eras. The setting is a maternity hospital, where character Bloom arrives to check on Mrs. Purefoy. Nurse Callan, who knows Bloom, guides him inside. Mrs. Purefoy has been in labor for three days and their conversation about her is told through a medieval prose lens. Dixon, a medical student, invites Bloom into a lively gathering. Bloom is handed a beer but secretly gives it away. A nun requests silence. The group starts talking about medical situations where a doctor must choose between the mother and child's life. Stephen delves into the religious ramifications of this, while others make light jokes about sex and contraception. Bloom, however, is serious, pondering on Mrs. Purefoy and his own wife's labor experience. He also observes Stephen, considering him as wasting his time with this crowd. Stephen pours more beer and debates about the specifics of Mary's pregnancy. This is written in Elizabethan style. Punch Costello interrupts with a lewd song, and Nurse Quigley quiets them down. Stephen's chastity during his youth is brought up as a joke, in a seventeenth-century prose style. A thunderclap scares Stephen, and Bloom tries to comfort him by explaining the science behind thunder. Nearby, Buck Mulligan meets Alec Bannon, who shares about a girl he is seeing in Mullingar. They head to the hospital together. Back at the hospital, the conversation shifts to livestock health and a joke about papal bulls. When Buck arrives, he jests about a new job as a "fertiliser" for all women. Crotthers and Bannon converse about contraception in the style of Lawrence Sterne. Nurse Callan informs Dixon that Mrs. Purefoy has delivered a boy. The men make lewd comments about Nurse Callan, while Bloom is relieved about the baby and disgusted with the men's behavior. The men then discuss a variety of birth-related topics, including Caesarean sections, fathers dying before childbirth, fratricide, artificial insemination, menopause, impregnation by rape, birthmarks, and Siamese twins, and Buck tells a ghost story. Bloom reflects about his younger days, and feels fatherly towards the young men. Then, his mood darkens. He witnesses Lenehan and Lynch upset Stephen by mentioning his unsuccessful poetry career and his deceased mother. The conversation eventually turns to the Gold Cup race, Lynch’s girlfriend Kitty, and the mystery of infant mortality. Bloom lingers behind to ask Nurse Callan to comfort Mrs. Purefoy, and he applauds Mr. Purefoy's virility. As the men scurry to Burke’s bar, the narrative becomes a mix of twentieth-century dialect and slang. They discuss the Gold Cup race and Stephen buys rounds of absinthe. Alec Bannon recognizes Bloom as Milly’s father and quietly leaves. The barman announces the end of drinking time just as the Fire Brigade passes by. After someone throws up, Stephen persuades Lynch to accompany him to the red-light district. A poster about a visiting minister triggers a shift to an American sales-pitch evangelism style.

episode 15

Episode fifteen unfolds like a drama with stage directions, consisting largely of imagined dialogues fuelled by alcohol and anxiety. Stephen and Lynch wander towards a familiar brothel in Nighttown, Dublin's infamous district, while Bloom trails behind, losing sight of them. Bloom stops to grab a late-night snack at a pork butcher's shop, but then feels guilty about the expenditure. This triggers a vision where Bloom's parents, Molly, and Gerty MacDowell confront him about various wrongdoings. He then runs into Mrs. Breen and they engage in a short-lived flirtation. Bloom feeds his purchase to a stray dog in a dark corner, leading to another vision where he is grilled by two night guards. He is then put on public trial, accused of various crimes, with witnesses like Myles Crawford, Philip Beaufoy, and Paddy Dignam appearing in the form of a dog. Mary Driscoll, the Blooms' ex-housemaid, accuses Bloom of making sexual advances towards her. Zoe Higgins, a prostitute, locates Bloom and suggests that he and Stephen are mourning together. After stealing Bloom's lucky potato, Zoe teases him about his anti-smoking lecture. His lecture morphs into a campaign speech in his imagination, and he becomes the leader of a renewed "Bloomusalem." However, the dream sours when Buck Mulligan accuses him of perverse sexual behaviors and Bloom ends up giving birth to eight children. Brought back to reality by Zoe, Bloom enters Bella Cohen's brothel where Stephen and Lynch are enjoying the company of prostitutes Kitty and Florry. Following a misunderstanding, Florry triggers an apocalyptic vision for Stephen. Bloom experiences another hallucination when his grandfather Lipoti Virag arrives and gives him a lecture on sex. Bella Cohen's entry ignites another long hallucination where she turns into "Bello" and dominates a feminized Bloom, taunts him about his past sins and Boylan's virility, and eventually demands his departure. Bloom's humiliation continues in an afterlife scenario, only ending when he confronts a nymph about her own sexual desires. Upon regaining his senses, Bloom confronts Bella Cohen, retrieves his lucky potato from Zoe, pays the bill, and takes control of Stephen's money as Stephen is intoxicated. Zoe reads his palm, calling him a "henpecked husband." This triggers another hallucination about Boylan and Molly. Conversation turns to Stephen's adventures in Paris, and everyone starts dancing except Bloom. In a horrific vision, Stephen's deceased mother appears, leading to his guilt-riddled outburst. Bella calls for the police as Stephen makes a dramatic exit, followed by Bloom. In the street, Stephen confronts British Army Private Carr, and the situation escalates into a fight. Stephen's pacifist nature is evident. The fight ends with Stephen knocked unconscious as the police arrive. Bloom seeks help from Corny Kelleher to deal with the situation. As the scene clears, Bloom is left tending to a barely conscious Stephen while a vision of his deceased son Rudy appears.

episode 16

Bloom awakens Stephen and leads him towards a nearby cabman's shelter for a meal. Along the way, he warns Stephen about the perils of Nighttown and dubious "friends". Stephen doesn't reply. They encounter Gumley, an acquaintance of Stephen's father, and later Corley, a destitute associate. Stephen jokingly suggests Corley to take his soon-to-leave position at Deasy's school and gives him some money. Bloom is shocked by Stephen's kindness. Bloom reminds Stephen that he is without a place to sleep as his friends Buck and Haines have abandoned him. He suggests returning to Stephen's father's house and reassures him of his father's pride, but Stephen remains silent, recalling a grim family setting. Upon entering the cabman's shelter, Bloom buys food for Stephen. There, a sailor named D.B. Murphy shares travel stories and shows around a postcard of tribal women. Bloom doubts his identity. Murphy's tales stir Bloom's own modest travel dreams and potential business opportunities in affordable tourism. Murphy shares his experience of witnessing a man being stabbed in Italy, which ignites a discussion on the Phoenix Park murders. Murphy displays his tattoos, which includes a depiction of a friend who was later eaten by sharks. Bloom spots Bridie Kelly outside and quickly hides his face. Upon her departure, he advises Stephen about the dangers of prostitutes. The conversation turns towards theological debates about souls. Bloom encourages Stephen to eat and they resume talking about Murphy's story of the Italian assailant. Bloom agrees that Mediterraneans are temperamental and reveals his wife is part Spanish. He later shares his vision of a society where everyone works and earns a comfortable income. Stephen reacts dismissively, asserting his own importance. Bloom attributes Stephen's rude and erratic behavior to inebriation and a troubled family life. He entertains the idea of writing an article about his experiences in a cabman's shelter. The talk in the shelter shifts to Parnell and his alleged exile. Bloom recalls returning Parnell's lost hat once. He sympathizes with Parnell and his mistress. Bloom shows Stephen a picture of his wife, Molly, and hopes that Stephen will leave his wayward ways. Seeing similarities between them, Bloom invites Stephen to his home for cocoa. He covers Stephen's tab and they leave the shelter, chatting about music and sirens. They end their night walking arm in arm, observed by a streetsweeper.

episode 17

Episode 17 has a unique narration style, presented in 309 questions and responses, similar to a catechism or philosophical dialogue. Bloom and Stephen journey home, discussing music and politics. On arrival, Bloom realizes he's forgotten his key. He scales the fence, goes through the kitchen and opens the front for Stephen. Bloom prepares tea, but Stephen, a hydrophobe, declines to wash. Items in the kitchen hint at Boylan's earlier visit - a gift basket and betting tickets. The tickets remind Bloom of a misunderstanding about the Gold Cup with Bantam Lyons. Bloom makes cocoa for them, and as they drink, he watches Stephen and reminisces about his own attempts at poetry as a youth. It's revealed that they've met twice before when Stephen was a child. Their personalities contrast - Stephen's is artistic while Bloom's leans towards practicality due to his interest in invention and advertising. They share stories, and Bloom thinks about publishing Stephen's works. They write in Irish and Hebrew together. Stephen recites “Little Harry Hughes,” a medieval tale with anti-Semitic undertones. Stephen's retelling implies he sees both of them in the Christian child character. Bloom, however, is uncomfortable and thinks of his own "Jew's daughter", Millicent. He remembers Milly's childhood and, contemplating a union between Stephen and Milly or Molly, invites Stephen to stay over. Stephen declines, but Bloom returns his money and proposes potential future collaborations. Stephen appears indifferent, leaving Bloom despondent. Bloom escorts Stephen out, they urinate together in the yard under the starry sky that suddenly lights up with a shooting star. They part ways and Bloom, left alone, hears Stephen's fading footsteps. Inside, Bloom walks into moved furniture. He starts to undress and accounts for the room's contents and his daily budget. He dreams about owning a suburban bungalow. He stores a letter from Martha in a locked cabinet and recalls pleasant encounters with Mrs. Breen, Nurse Callan, and Gerty MacDowell. The second drawer holds family documents, including his father's suicide note. Bloom regrets not maintaining his father's traditions like keeping kosher. He appreciates his father's financial legacy, which saved him from destitution and dreams of being an adventurer. Bloom retires to his bedroom, revisiting his day's accomplishments and failures. More signs of Boylan are present. Bloom ponders over Molly's past suitors, Boylan being the latest. He feels jealousy, then resignation. Bloom kisses Molly's behind as he sleeps at the foot of the bed. Molly wakes and Bloom recounts his day, avoiding certain details. He talks about Stephen, portraying him as a professor and author. Molly reflects on their decade-long celibacy, Bloom ponders over the strained relations after Milly's puberty. The episode wraps up with Molly symbolized as "Gea-Tellus," the Earth Mother, while Bloom is depicted as an infant in the womb and a weary sailor at rest. The episode concludes with a typographical dot indicating Bloom's resting place.

episode 18

Molly Bloom begins her internal dialogue by reflecting on her husband Bloom's request for breakfast in bed. She suspects that he has been unfaithful, and her thoughts turn to her own affair with the virile Boylan. She recalls Bloom's attractiveness during their courtship, and considers their marriage comparable to that of Josie and Denis Breen. Her next train of thought involves her admirers – Boylan, Bartell D'Arcy, and Lt. Gardner. She thinks about Bloom's fetish for underwear and anticipates her upcoming rendezvous with Boylan in Belfast. She also remembers Boylan's fury over Lenehan's failed Gold Cup race tip, considers losing weight and wishes for financial well-being. She recalls her unsuccessful attempt to save Bloom's job. Molly's third thought revolves around the beauty of female bodies and the ridiculousness of male ones. She remembers Bloom's suggestion of posing nude for photographs for financial gain. Her thoughts of this lead her back to her afternoon with Boylan. A train whistle signals her fourth thought, transporting her back to her childhood in Gibraltar and her friendship with Hester Stanhope and her husband. She reflects on the disparity between Milly's communication with her and Bloom and wonders about Boylan's intentions. Molly's fifth thought starts with reminiscing about Lieutenant Mulvey, her first love. Another train whistle prompts her to think about her upcoming performance and her potential stardom had she not married Bloom. She then shifts her position in bed to release gas. Her sixth thought centers around her daughter Milly and her increasing loneliness. She reflects on her strained relationship with Milly and the regrettable fact of her menstruation starting. She realizes that Boylan hasn't impregnated her. In her seventh thought, Molly considers their frequent relocations due to Bloom's financial instability. She worries about his spending habits, especially on other women and the Dignam family. She reminisces about meeting Stephen Dedalus in childhood and plans to impress him with her intellect. Her eighth and final thought is about Bloom's lack of affection and strange sexual preferences. She contemplates a world led by women and the importance of motherhood. Her thoughts return to Stephen and then to her deceased son Rudy. She plans to confront Bloom about her affair and also to purchase flowers for Stephen's anticipated visit. She ends her thoughts recalling the day Bloom proposed to her at Howth, which was a significant moment in her life.

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