Ulysses chapter I Telemachus interpretation by Prof.Harry Blamires


1 - There is a copyright issue here that has to be solved as already mentioned in the Introduction. As it is it is, it falls under the 10% free quotation rule.
2 - This edition relates the text to the pages of the 86 Gabler Corrected Edition, with the Penguin Twentieth-Century edition of 92 and the Oxford University Press World Classics of 93. It was fairly matched with what we are using, which is the same as Don Gifford in his annotated ulsses and later this should be matched more accurately if this project turns on.
3 - It should be created a repository For H. Blamires, that will result in a translation of his book, if this project ends up as planned, this will occur for the selected languages..

A review of the first edition:

'This will become the standard work of its kind ... Harry Blamires has written a straightforward, unpretentious 263- page paraphrase, labour of love. Severely restricting flights of interpretation to useful cross-references, he stays dose to the text at all times.'


Chapter 1


Joyce's symbolism cannot be explained mechanically in terms of one-for-one parallels, for his correspondences are neither exclusive nor continuously persistent. Nevertheless certain correspondences recur throughout Ulysses, establishing themselves firmly. Thus Leopold Bloom corresponds to Ulysses in the Homeric parallel, and Stephen Dedalus corresponds to Telemachus, Ulysses's son.(3) At the beginning of Homer's Odyssey Telemachus finds himself virtually dispossessed by his mother's suitors in his own father's house, and he sets out in search of the lost Ulysses. In Joyce's first episode Stephen Dedalus feels that he is pushed out by his supposed friends from his temporary residence, and leaves it intending not to return. The residence in question is the Martello tower on the beach at Sandycove, for which Stephen .pays the rent. Buck Mulligan, a medical student, shares it with him, and they have a resident visitor, Haines, an Englishman from Oxford.
It is morning. The day begins with a parody of the Mass. Buck Mulligan, mimicking a priest approaching the altar, sings the introit and carries his shaving-bowl like the chalice. Stephen watches Mulligan from the staircase as he mockingly blesses his surroundings and offers to an imaginary congregation the 'body and soul and blood and ouns' (wounds) of a female Christ, 'christine', (His 'equine' face and hair like 'pale oak' hint at the treachery of a wooden horse.) The lathered water in the bowl represents the white corpuscles; the three whistles burlesque the sacring bell. Mulligan brings 'Chrysostomos' to Stephen's mind because Mulligan's gold-stopped teeth and his gift of the gab earn him the title which St John Chrysostom's preaching earned him, 'golden-mouthed'. Mulligan's ecclesiastical mummery before
Stephen is a mockery of Stephen's seriousness, his intellectualism, (3) and his former religious fervour. (4) Stephen provides a watchful but weary audience for Mulligan's performance. He complains of the behaviour of their English guest, Haines, who is subject to hysterical nightmares. (3) Last night Haines raved terrifyingly after dreaming of a black panther. (Later passages establish the black panther as a symbol of Bloom, whose Christian name is Leopold. It is a symbol, too, which carries overtones of divinity. Bloom becomes the lost 'father' whom Stephen discovers.) Mulligan borrows Stephen's handkerchief, mocks the beauty of the 'snotgreen sea', and 'Algy' Swinburne's description of it as 'the great sweet mother' (5) (in The Triumph of Time). The image of the sea as mother introduces a persistent series of linkages between water and womanhood which relate to an underlying contrast between barrenness and fertility. (4) Mulligan seriously disapproves of Stephen for having refused to comfort his mother by praying at her deathbed. (See A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man.) Because of Stephen's reputation, Mulligan has been forbidden by his aunt to have contact with him. Mulligan's rebuke brings back to Stephen the memory of a dream which he had soon after his mother's death, in which she appeared to him in her grave clothes. This memory haunts Stephen intermittently throughout the day and indeed dominates his mind at the moment of crisis in the Circe episode, itself the crisis episode of the book. (See pp. 473-5)
At this stage begins the series of hints which establish an important correspondence between Stephen and Hamlet. As Hamlet sees his father's ghost on the platform of Elsinore Castle, so Stephen recalls, here on top of the Martello tower, the dream of his mother's ghostly reappearance. Mulligan, like(5) Claudius is a usurper. Mulligan chides Stephen for not casting his nighted colour off ('He kills his mother but he can't wear grey trousers'). Claudius-like again, Mulligan fancifully indulges (6) the story that Stephen is mad (has 'general paralysis of the insane'). He tries to make Stephen see himself as others see him, holding up a cracked mirror before him; but for Stephen the mirror is a Shakespearean symbol of art (Drama holds the 'mirror up to nature' in Hamlet, and see p. 463/671), and the (6) cracked looking-glass of a servant a symbol of Irish art in particular. (The metaphor is Oscar Wilde's.) Mulligan talks


of touching Haines for money, then of organizing a ragging of Haines if he proves troublesome. The memory of how Clive Kempthorpe was ragged stirs Stephen, who hates violence, to say Let him stay'. Once more Claudius-like, Mulligan tries to probe Stephen's moodiness, 'What have you against me now?', and Stephen refers to an occasion soon after Mrs Dedalus's death when Mulligan alluded to her callously as 'beastly dead'. Mulligan's response in part parodies Claudius's response to Hamlet. Deaths occur daily; the only tragic feature in this case was Stephen's own refusal to humour his mother's dying request. Stephen is not comforted. He resents Mulligan's insult to himself rather than the insult to his mother. And now, after telling him to stop brooding, Mulligan ironically begins to sing the very song which Stephen sang for his mother, at her special request, on her deathbed ('Who goes with Fergus?' by Yeats). This song, too, recurs to Stephen at later moments of crisis (see pp. 474 and 496). Here he recalls the deathbed scene, then moments of his mother's life from girlhood, some from her memories handed on to him, others from his own; and these lead to a fuller and more detailed recall of her ghostly reappearance in his dream, when the agony of her death and her failure to move him to pray were re-enacted in grotesque frightfulness (cf. pp. 473-5). Stephen's rejection of her dying demand that he should go through the motions of Catholic orthodoxy is a focal act around which cluster his demands for personal freedom. Indeed, symbolic correspondences give Stephen's act of disobedience at his mother's deathbed an archetypal significance. lt is associated with the acts of disobedience by which Lucifer rebelled against God (p. 42: 'Albright he falls, proud lightning of the intellect ... etc.'; see also p. 475/) and by which Eve rebelled against God (p. 32, 'Will you be as gods?'). Thus the Fall of the Angelis, by which Satan was cast out from Heaven, and the Fall of Man, by which Adam and Eve were cast out of Eden, provide a cosmic background against which Stephen, exiled from his father's house and from the Martello tower, seeks independent individual fulfillment as man and as artist. Mulligan calls Stephen down to breakfast and repeats his suggestion that Stephen should touch Haines, who is his admirer,
for money. But this is just the kind of subservience (to English


wealth) which Stephen rejects. Anyway, he reminds Mulligan (11) that today is pay-day; whereupon the latter foresees a drinking bout at Stephen's expense. Mulligan goes downstairs first, (12) leaving Stephen to meditate on his 'forgotten friendship' and his forgotten shaving-bowl. Shall he take the bowl down for him, he wonders, holding it as he used to hold the incense boat when he acted as server at Mass at Clongowes, thereby once more, in a different context, assuming the servant's role? ('Server of a servant' because Catholic Ireland is England's servant and Mulligan is ultimately the servant of Ireland and conventionality.) (13) In the living-room below Mulligan, Haines, and Stephen settle (11) down to breakfast, cooked and served largely; it would seem, by Mulligan, who continues his ritualistic mummery in the process. The comic story of-Mother Grogan establishes a connexion between making tea and making water, which continues through the book. The two represent creativity and fertility. The young
14 men carry on a burlesque literary conversation, mockingly treating Mother Grogan and her story as fit subjects for scholarly research. (15) The milkwoman arrives. Stephen sees her as a symbol of poor, (12) sterile, subjected Ireland, around whom cluster the romantic phrases of the Celtic revivalists, but whose favour he scorns to (14) beg. (She is transfigured into Old Gummy Granny among the nightmare caricatures of the Circe episode, p. 490/696). A true
16 representative of her country, Stephen notes that she has more respect for Mulligan, the loud-voiced medicine-man, than for himself, the artist. When Haines tries out his Gaelic on her, (13) she doesn't understand. We may take this as Joyce's comment on Celtic revivalism. (17) Buck Mulligan pays two shillings to reduce the outstanding (18) milk debt to twopence. Haines speaks of visiting the national library today. Mulligan proposes a swim first, then teases Stephen about his reluctance to wash. (Stephen's reluctance to wash or to bathe is symbolically associated with his rejection of his own baptism, his failure to commit himself to womanhood, and to engage himself fruitfully in artistic creation. He has rebelled against his own mother, his mother the Church, (14) his mother country.) When Haines speaks in admiration of Stephen's sayings and theories, Stephen moodily fobs him off (19) with evasions that smack of Hamlet. This annoys Mulligan,


who claims to have been boosting Stephen to Haines in the hope of touching Haines for money. But Stephen, the artist, refuses to look for support either 'from her or from him', from the milkwoman or from Haines, from poor old Ireland or from wealthy England.
Stephen, Mulligan, and Haines leave the tower, Stephen (15) putting the large key in his pocket. When Haines presses 20 Stephen for his theory of Hamlet, whose originality and ingenuity Mulligan has already advertised, Mulligan cries out in mock protest against the thought of tackling so vast a subject without first imbibing the necessary quantity of beer. Mulligan's mockery of Stephen's theory ('He proves by algebra that Hamlet's grandson is Shakespeare's grandfather ... ') helps to establish what becomes a dominant theme in the book - the exploration of the nature of fatherhood and creativity, human and divine. Haines explicitly compares the tower and cliffs with those of Elsinore. Then, mentioning a theological interpretation of 16 Hamlet in terms of the Father-Son relationship, he, too, touches (20) on the theme to be pursued throughout Ulysses. Although Mulligan steamrollers this threat of seriousness with his blasphemous comic ballad of Joking Jesus, nevertheless this ballad also explores, in parody, the subject of Christ's paternity and divinity.
Haines attempts to start with Stephen a conventional 23 twentieth-century argument about religious belief, and Stephen, indulging his intellectual superiority, plays with him mentally (17) like a cat with a mouse (or like a Hamlet with a Polonius), meantime brooding on Mulligan's usurpation of the tower and the growing demands of Mulligan's possessiveness. Stephen notes and later recalls (p. 153) the green stone twinkling in Haines's silver cigarette case. It suggests an emerald Ireland that is England's pretty ornament, but he accepts a cigarette and, aware that Haines after all means well and kindly by him, he speaks his views more simply and plainly. As an Irishman he is the servant of two masters, the British State and the Roman Church, and of a third, poor old Ireland. Haines tries to be tolerant and sympathetic, and voices the bad conscience of the twentieth-century Englishman. 'It seems history is to blame.'Images expressing the power and dignity of Roman orthodoxy through the ages occupy Stephen's mind. In particular he sees the apostolic hand putting to flight the great heretics. The


(21) heretics mentioned - Photius, Anus, and Sabeilius - all challenged orthodox teaching on the subject of the consubstantiality of Father and Son. Each of them brought into question the status of the Son and his relationship to the Father. (See p. 162 for Photius again; p. 171 for Sabeilius again.) The full significance of this theme in Ulysses will emerge gradually. It is deeply explored in episode 9. At this point the correspondence between Mulligan and Photius is notable because Photius was appointed to the Patriarchate of Constantinople when Ignatius was deposed in 858. This appointment defied papal authority. Photius was therefore a usurper. (20) Stephen and Haines, making their way to the beach, pass two men on the cliff. One of them, a boatman, speaks of a drowned man whose body, t is hoped, will be washed up by today's tide. The image of the drowned man will recur: so, too, the theme of the body recovered. Down on the beach Stephen and (23) Haines find Mulligan preparing for his bathe. A young man, already in the water, refers to a friend Bannon who is at Westmeath and who has found a 'sweet young thing' whom he calls his 'Photo giri'. This girl turns out to be MilIy Bloom, daughter of Leopold. (See Milly's letter to her father, p. 54 ). An elderly priest finishes his bathe and scrambles out of the water nearby. The young man and Buck Mulligan discuss one Seymour who has abandoned medicine for the army. (23) Mulligan completes his undressing, gets the tower key from (17) Stephen, borrows twopence in addition, then plunges into the sea. Haines sits on a stone smoking. Having agreed to meet Mulligan at The Ship, an inn, at 12.30, Stephen walks away up the path, the Liliata rutilantium, which was recited at his mother's deathbed (p. 9), running through his mind. He glimpses the (23) priest getting dressed after his bathe. His last thoughts are that he can return tonight neither to the tower nor to his own home. Mulligan, calling to him from the sea, is the usurper. 'Usurper' is a strong word, and the link it later establishes between Mulligan and the book's other betrayer, Boylan, eventually adds to its force. Stephen's coming deep rejection of Mulligan will make sense only if Mulligan's function in this first episode is fully grasped, and the reader has to be patient in this respect. Nevertheless, even at this stage, looking back, we may note that Mulligan's role carries faint diabolical overtones. In his mock mass (his dressing-gown 'sustained gently


behind him in the mild morning air' - like a tail, p. 3 ) he offers up Irish art (the cracked looking-glass) and Stephen's intellect (the razor, associated with 'Kinch, the knifeblade', p. 4) at the server of a servant's altar of convention and compromise. It is as the tempter that he calls Stephen to the top of the tower, blesses the 'surrounding land and the awaking mountains', draws Stephen's attention to the world around him ('Look at the sea. What does it care about offences?' p. 8/9), tries to press Stephen to join him in an attempt to 'Hellenize' the island (p. 6 ), blames him for not falling down in worship at his mother's deathbed (p. 5), and urges him to exploit his talents to get money from Haines, the Englishman. The Joycean can scarcely ignore the hinted scriptural parallels with the temptation of Christ. Stephen resists and, in leaving the tower, takes up the ashplant (p. 15) which later emerges, fitfully, as symbolic of the Cross (p. 572).