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Who is Calypso?
Calypso is a nymph who captivated Odysseus on his way home from the Trojan War. She sought to keep him on her island as her husband, but — as awesome as that might have been — Odysseus decides he can no longer stay away from his wife, Penelope. Calypso also means “to conceal” in Ancient Greek, something Molly is doing quite a bit of this morning.
But wait, you say: if you know anything about Ulysses, you know that Molly gets the final chapter and it’s called Penelope (something even Marilyn Monroe knew). How can Molly be both the temptress Calypso and the faithful wife Penelope to poor Bloom? Good question. Feel free to jump into the comments at any point.
Both Calypso and Odysseus are wily, and the image captures this: there’s a little bit of a standoff here, as Bloom probably knows more than he’s saying, and Molly pretends the letter from Boylan is no big deal. Bloom takes the opportunity to get closer to the bed, and I love the “In the act of going he stayed”: in some ways, this captures in a nutshell the problem of Bloom’s cuckoldry and how it drives the plot. He both goes and stays. And the way she regards him somewhat coolly, with the drapery of the bedspread showing off the contours of her body, is quite provocative.