Home
  Episode Guide
  1982 Radio Play
  Ulysses in Song
  James Joyce
  Ulysses : An Introduction
  Bloomsday
   
   
   
   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Penelope
Episode 18
Click Here for Map 18 >>

Synopsis by Gerry O'Flaherty

Statue of Penelope
Ulster Hall
Howth Head
Here are the thoughts of Molly as she lies in bed beside Bloom, who is asleep. It is about 2.30 am. She reviews her entire life but concentrates on two aspects of it - her affair with Boylan and the state of her relationship with Bloom. She is surprised that Bloom has asked for breakfast in bed. She knows that he suspects her of having an affair but he has no proof. She thinks that Bloom is lucky to have her as his wife. Then she remembers how she first saw Boylan in the DBC Café in Dame Street and how she will be with him during following week in Belfast, while Bloom is in Ennis. She bemoans her lack of money and good clothes and Bloom's inability the hold down a job. She remembers Boylan sucking her breasts earlier in the day and how Bloom is incapable of even frying a kidney. She is impatient to see Boylan again.

She regrets that so few people write to her, in Gibraltar she even wrote to herself. Lieutenant Mulvey's was the first letter she ever got and she pretended to him that she was to be married to Don Miguel del la Flora. Mulvey gave her the Claddagh ring, which she later gave to Lieutenant Gardner. Her period comes on and she wonders if there is something wrong with her, as it is only three weeks since the last one. She is sixteen years married and she recalls all the moves they have made and all the jobs Bloom has had. The remembrance of how Simon Dedalus once flirted with her turns her thoughts to Stephen. He was in the cards that morning. She calculates his age and thinks that she would not be too old to be his lover. Boylan is crude when she compares him to Stephen. She remembers her Rudy's conception and decides to give Bloom one more chance. Then, like Bloom earlier in the day, she thinks about their lovemaking on Howth Head and how she said 'YES'.

In the Homeric correspondence Penelope/Molly is the faithful wife who stays at home waiting for her husband to return from his wanderings.

 
   Episode 18 Penelope    Listen to the show >>

We learn early in Ulysses that Molly is expected to travel to Belfast to sing in a concert organized by Blazes Boylan. Thanks to the entrepreneur H.B. Phillips the Ulster Hall - where the concert is to take place - was one to the leading and most modern music venues in the country.

Phillips brought Caruso to sing there in September of 1909 and regularly hosted operatic performances by touring companies. It is likely that Joyce paid a visit to the Ulster Hall in November 1909 while he scouted Belfast for a suitable venue to open a cinema similar to the Volta he had helped establish in Dublin.

Love's Old Sweet Song
Words by G Clifton Bingham
Music by James L Molloy
The song, perhaps, most associated with Ulysses and particularly identified with Molly Bloom. It is one of the songs she is to sing on her upcoming concert tour, which is being organized by Blazes Boylan who, we learn, 'organizes' her in a somewhat more earthy manner on the afternoon of Bloomsday.
Listen >>