Scylla and Charybdis: Thoughts and Questions

1) The Homeric parallel here is with two dangers that Odysseus is told he has to choose between: a grotesque monster on a rock that would eat any living being it could reach, and a sucking whirlpool. He chose to stay away from the whirlpool and sail close to the monster and passed by relatively unscathed, losing a few men. Joyce's schema interprets the monster and the whirlpool as Plato and Aristotle and also as Stratford and London. Can you see how these correspondences might work in the episode?

2) In chapter 5 of Portrait Stephen outlined an aesthetic theory that talked about the qualities of art as "wholeness, harmony, and radiance." He also said that "the artist, like the God of the creation, remains within or behind or beyond his handiwork, invisible, refined out of existence, indifferent, paring his fingernails." How would you compare those ideas with his new theory in this episode, expressed in his analysis of Shakespeare's plays?

3) Can you account for the odd things that happen in the narration in this episode? Examples: "Twicreakingly analysis he corantoed off" (9:99), "--A shrew, John Eglinton said shrewdly" (9:232), "Mr Secondbest Best said finely" (9:714-15)

4) Can you account for the odd excursions into musical notation (between 9:499 and 500), blank verse (9:684-706), and dramatic form (9:893-934)?

5) How do the men in the room (most of them were actual Dubliners: AE--the pseudonym used by George Russell, John Eglinton--the pseudonym used by W.K. Magee, Richard Best, the librarian Thomas Lyster) respond to Stephen?

6) Note Stephen's thoughts about time, and about relationships between the present, the past, and the future: "Hold to the now, the here, through which all future plunges to the past" (9:89); "Every life is many days, day after day. We walk through ourselves . . ." (9:1044-45)

7) Note Stephen's various themes in relation to other aspects of Ulysses: sundering and reconciliation (9:334-35 and 397-98), adultery and betrayal (9:450-64), brothers (9:663-82), fatherhood (9:828-44 and 862-71).

8) Note how many times Stephen's thoughts as he speaks betray his self-doubts: "Are you condemned to do this?" (9:849), "Don't tell him he was nine years old when it was quenched" (9:936), "Fabulous artificer. The hawklike man. You flew. Whereto? . . . Lapwing. Icarus." (9:952-54), "He laughed to free his mind from his mind's bondage" (9:1016), "--Do you believe your own theory? / --No, Stephen said promptly." (9:1067)

9) Note John Eglinton's comment and its relation to Ulysses: "That was Will's way. . . .We should not now combine a Norse saga with an excerpt from a novel by George Meredith. . . . He [Shakespeare] puts Bohemia on the seacoast and makes Ulysses quote Aristotle." (9:993-96)

10) See Bloom's brief appearances and Mulligan's comment (9:585, 607-17, 1203-11).

11) Note Mulligan's play in response to Stephen's theory (9:1171-89).