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The Cyclops
Episode 12
Click Here for Map 12 >>

Synopsis by Gerry O'Flaherty

Barney Kiernan's
It is about five o'clock. The nameless narrator meets Joe Hynes and the two go to Barney Kiernan's public house on Little Britain Street to meet the Citizen. They find him sitting in the corner with a sheaf of papers 'working for the cause'.

Cusack

Bloom, who has an appointment with Martin Cunningham to settle Dignam's insurance, comes in. He refuses a drink but accepts a cigar. The talk turns to capital punishment and the Citizen, who is anti-Semitic, speaks of revolutionaries and martyrs and he rants about foreigners coming into the country. He spits when Bloom says that he is Irish.

Bloom goes out to look for Martin Cunningham but Lenehan spreads the word that Bloom had a bet on Throwaway and has gone to collect his winnings. When Bloom returns and does not offer to buy drinks, things become difficult. Cunningham gauges the situation and jostles Bloom out to a waiting car. When Bloom asserts that Christ was a Jew like him, the Citizen loses his temper and throws a biscuit tin after the departing car but misses.

Throwaway

In Homer, Odysseus/Bloom is held captive by the one-eyed giant Polyphemus/Citizen but escapes, having blinded him with a burning stick/ Bloom's cigar. Polyphemus/Citizen throws a rock/biscuit tin at the departing ship but misses it.

 

 

   Episode 12 The Cyclops    Listen to the show >>

In his essay "The Passing of Barney Kiernan's" Roger McHugh outlines the history of the bar in which 'Cyclops's episode of Ulysses is set. It was a bar frequented by barristers and a place where many cases were settled. The bar was packed with memorabilia and emphemera associated with history and crime. The collection the hangman's letter's, which are read out in the Cyclops episode, were likely objects to adorn the bar.

The bar also has a piece of rope which was used to bind the Sheares brothers, and this may have something to do with them being mentioned in one of the parodic interpolations. The list of items on display is fairly exhaustive, all relating to history and many to nationalist and republican figures - adding a sense historical clostrophobia that prevails in the chapter.

The Man Who Broke the Bank at Monte Carlo
Words and music by Fred Gilbert
This song was a great favourite of Joyce's, he sang it often himself. There is a passing reference to it in a comic list of names from antiquity in the Cyclops episode of Ulysses.

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