by Gerry O'Flaherty
is two o'clock in the National Library. In episode seven we left
Stephen on his way to Mooney's public house with his friends from
the newspaper office. He sent a telegram to Mulligan cancelling
his 12.30pm appointment at The Ship.
Here... to see the National Library's Exhibition James
Joyce and Ulysses at The National Library
he is in the National Library and is about to recount his theory
of Hamlet to a few literary acquaintances - Lyster, the Librarian,
Best and Magee (aka John Eglinton), Assistant Librarians, and
George Russell (aka AE). The theory is that, in writing the play,
Shakespeare identified himself not with Hamlet but with the dead
king, whose life was analogous to his own in so far as it is alleged
that Shakespeare's wife, Ann Hathaway, had committed adultery
with his brothers.
Stephen is expounding his theory Mulligan arrives and makes fun
of it and of Stephen. Meantime, Bloom arrives to copy the advertisement
from the Kilkenny People and as Mulligan and Stephen leave the
Library, Bloom goes out between them. This is the first meeting
that day of Bloom and Stephen.
Homer, Odysseus must steer safely between the multi-headed monster,
Scylla, and the whirlpool, Charybdis. Just as Stephen, when expounding
his theory, must steer between Platonic metaphysics and Aristotelian
logic, and Bloom, on his way out of the Library, must pass between
Stephen and Mulligan.