OF THE BABY NAME ULYSSES
Leopold Bloom is the protagonist of James Joyce’s masterpiece of modern literature, Ulysses, first published in serial form and in its initial book form by Sylvia Beach of Shakespeare and Company in Paris in 1922. The subject of multiple attacks of obscenity charges, Ulysses has come to be accepted for what it is – a classic. At its heart are the ruminations and observations of the wandering Jew, Leopold Bloom, as he walks about Dublin in the course of a single day, June 16, 1904. Leopold is Everyman – a person with troubles, heartbreaks, disappointments. He and his wife Molly lost their only son when an infant, and since that time Leopold has been unable to have marital relations with her. At the same time, he knows that she is finding questionable comfort in the arms of another man. He is such a fair man that he cannot hold her in contempt for her actions. Indeed, Leopold either sympathizes or empathizes with most of mankind, so non-judgmental is he, and so lacking in the single-minded national fervor that grips the nation of which he is at once a native and an outsider. Leopold is very comfortable in his skin; he is a creature of the earth and does not so much revel in that earthiness as dwell in it. He loves to eat, to drink, to talk – indeed, all the bodily functions are embraced wholeheartedly by him. He holds women in special regard and dreams of following through on his sexual fantasies, although that is as far as he will take it. In the face of all that life has to serve to him, Leopold remains in essence a good and gentle man, one for whom the very nature of existence can be distilled into one word - “love” – in all its manifestations.
Myles Crawford is a character in James Joyce’s 1922 novel, Ulysses. He is the editor of the “Freeman’s Journal”, and truth be told, he is not all that likeable a character. He appears in the “Aeolus” section of the novel, being the counterpart to Homer’s depiction of the god of winds. As Aeolus first confers gifts upon Ulysses, so does Myles upon Bloom, and as Aeolus later retrieves these gifts, so, too, does Myles. Myles, we must admit, is not all that sympathetic a character, being an arrogant, boozy, chauvinistic, crude, backward-looking, tyrannical boss – but – and it’s a big, redeeming but – the name sounds great – doesn’t it!?
Stephen Dedalus is James Joyce’s own alter-ego, appearing first in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1916) and then in Ulysses (1922). A young man with ambitious artistic dreams, he lives somewhat apart from others, preferring his own thoughts and philosophizing, agonizing over the death of his mother, and separating from his critical father. He rebels against the mores of the Catholic Church and Irish society that have formed him. He is a complex man, full of the pursuit of his own identity and of understanding his own place in the world. He seems to eschew true human companionship, and looks for an understanding of himself through fictional characters. It is no coincidence that he shares his name with the first martyr of the Church, St. Stephen. As he aimlessly teaches school and sinks deeper into alcoholism, it is the ministering of the protagonist of Ulysses , Leopold Bloom, who offers him hope – a redemption that can be achieved through the acceptance of human sympathy and empathy.
Malachi is a character in James Joyce’s 1922 novel, Ulysses, and has the distinction of opening the book with the first sentence: “Stately, plump Buck Mulligan came from the stairhead, bearing a bowl of lather on which a mirror and a razor lay crossed.” What he is doing in that opener is sacrilegious – he pretends to conduct a Mass. Malachi shares quarters with the novel’s protagonist, Stephen Dedalus, and also serves as a kind of counterpoint to Dedalus’ more introverted, brooding personality. A philosophical medical student, he is no lover of mankind, but he is a matchless and irreverent pursuer of the pleasures of mankind. In other words, a fun guy.
Molly Bloom Is the wife of Leopold Bloom in James Joyce’s modernistic masterpiece, Ulysses, published in 1922. The action takes place during a single day in 1904, following the everyday activities of Bloom and Stephen Dedalus, and assumes a parallel with the Homeric legend. Initially banned in both the United Kingdom and the United States on charges of obscenity, it was a highly controversial book for its explicit depictions of sexuality. It has also been heralded as the first example of “stream of consciousness”. Molly Bloom is a sensuous, voluptuous, forthright, unfaithful and highly physical woman, whose soliloquy in the final chapter of the book, eight long unpunctuated run-on sentences, stands as a monument to the resoundingly female ability to accept and embrace life fully, with an echoing “yes I will Yes.”
Zoe is a minor character in James Joyce’s epic novel, “Ulysses” (first published in 1922). Yet, as a masterpiece of modern English literature, even minor characters are important in this novel. The entire nearly thousand-page story takes place over the course of a single day, 16 June 1904. One of the longest and most climactic episodes of the book (Circe) takes place in the brothel district of Dublin, Ireland. The main characters of the episode are the three prostitutes Zoe, Florry, and Kitty, and the "whoremistress," Bella Cohen. The chapter is meant to parallel Homer's “Odysseus” which describes Circe - an enchantress who turns men to swine with her magic. In Homer’s epic, the god Hermes gives Odysseus an herb called moly, which allows him to resist Circe's magic and reclaim the men under her spell. In Joyce’s rendition of the story, Zoe Higgins is one of the central prostitutes in Bella Cohen’s brothel. She is outgoing and adept at flirtation and teasing – thus representing one of the enchantresses from whom Leopold Bloom must rescue Stephen Dedalus.