Telemachus 0022

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In a comment on the last drawing, Josh wrote:

I think one other way in which this [Stephen’s “offence to me” retort on the last page] is characteristically Stephen is that it is his way of showing Mulligan that he is unmoved by the verbal barrage he has just received; that he has no intent of dropping his grudge. As we see on the next page, it proves to be an effective parry. Stephen knows that behind Mulligan’s bluster is a strong desire to be adored and respected, and he knows that this is a pin in Mulligan’s balloon

Yes indeed.  Maybe this is a good moment to go back to the Odyssey, where Athena appears to young Telemachus to tell him that he must leave his house, which is filled with usurpers, and to go out into the world to find out what happened to his father.  Homer doesn’t really discuss it, but it seems Telemachus could have chosen to  attach himself to one or more of his mother’s suitors… he could have allowed himself to become coopted by them.  It would have been tempting to do so–it would be similarly tempting for Stephen to sign on with Mulligan’s vision of Ireland’s cultural future.  But he can’t, and in this reading, it seems clearer to me that what has happened overnight is that Stephen has realized that Mulligan really has no vision of his own, but has been preying on others the whole time.

Rob’s presentation of the scene requires no commentary–when I first saw it I thought again of the old Spy vs. Spy cartoons


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Reader’s Guide for I: Telemachus

Dramatis Personae for I: Telemachus