Telemachus 0012

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[Cf. 1922 5:20-27, Gabler 1:86-94]

We get an important glimpse of Stephen here, as we learn that he refused to pray for his mother at her deathbed. What kind of a**hole doesn’t obey his dying mother’s wish to pray with her? Discuss.

I mean, yes, Stephen is an Artist of Profound Integrity, who cannot compromise his belief in his unbelief. And yes, we are meant to think of him as kin with Hamlet, with Telemachus, with those who fight to leave behind their lives as boys to become men. And I even think that we are meant to pity Stephen more than a little, who has become so alienated through his extremism.

Mulligan refers to himself and Stephen as “hyperborean.” What does this mean? Gifford gives us the basics–it’s a classical allusion, to a kind of perfectly youthful master race who lived at the far ends of the earth. More specifically, Gifford pegs the reference to Nietzsche & a passage in The Will to Power, wherein the Ubermensch were described as hyperborean, as beyond the constraints of conventional morality, especially Christian morality.

Anyone out there have more to say about hyperborean? About Stephen’s refusal to submit and what we’re supposed to think about it?

I love the bottom panel here… Mulligan looking stately and plump indeed, beautifully framed and posed like he’s about to start shooting lasers out of his hands. Which would make things interesting. His pose, his position, his framing, all speak together with the authority of Mulligan’s perfectly reasonable criticism of Stephen. And Stephen knows it, but he doesn’t care.


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Reader’s Guide for I: Telemachus

Dramatis Personae for I: Telemachus