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Ulysses

James Joyce

Character List

Plot Overview

Analysis of Major Characters

Leopold Bloom -  A thirty-eight-year-old advertising canvasser in Dublin. Bloom was raised in Dublin by his Hungarian Jewish father, Rudolph, and his Irish Catholic mother, Ellen. He enjoys reading and thinking about science and inventions and explaining his knowledge to others. Bloom is compassionate and curious and loves music. He is preoccupied by his estrangement from his wife, Molly.

Read an in-depth analysis of Leopold Bloom.

Marion (Molly) Bloom -  Leopold Bloom’s wife. Molly Bloom is thirty-three years old, plump with dark coloring, good-looking, and flirtatious. She is not well-educated, but she is nevertheless clever and opinionated. She is a professional singer, raised by her Irish father, Major Brian Tweedy, in Gibraltar. Molly is impatient with Bloom, especially about his refusal to be intimate with her since the death of their son, Rudy, eleven years ago.
Stephen Dedalus -  An aspiring poet in his early twenties. Stephen is intelligent and extremely well-read, and he likes music. He seems to exist more for himself, in a cerebral way, than as a member of a community or even the group of medical students that he associates with. Stephen was extremely religious as a child, but now he struggles with issues of faith and doubt in the wake of his mother’s death, which occurred less than a year ago.

Read an in-depth analysis of Stephen Dedalus.

Malachi (Buck) Mulligan -  A medical student and a friend of Stephen. Buck Mulligan is plump and well-read, and manages to ridicule nearly everything. He is well-liked by nearly everyone for his bawdy and witty jokes except Stephen, Simon, and Bloom.
Haines -  A folklore student at Oxford who is particularly interested in studying Irish people and culture. Haines is often unwittingly condescending. He has been staying at the Martello tower where Stephen and Buck live.
Hugh (“Blazes”) Boylan -  The manager for Molly’s upcoming concert in Belfast. Blazes Boylan is well-known and well-liked around town, though he seems somewhat sleazy, especially toward women. Boylan has become interested in Molly, and they commence an affair during the afternoon of the novel.
Millicent (Milly) Bloom -  Molly and Leopold Bloom’s fifteen-year-old daughter, who does not actually appear in Ulysses. The Blooms recently sent Milly to live in Mullingar and learn photography. Milly is blond and pretty and has become interested in boys—she is dating Alec Bannon in Mullingar.
Simon Dedalus -  Stephen Dedalus’s father. Simon Dedalus grew up in Cork, moved to Dublin, and was a fairly successful man until recently. Other men look up to him, even though his home life has been in disarray since his wife died. Simon has a good singing voice and a talent for funny stories, and he might have capitalized on these assets if not for his drinking habit. Simon is extremely critical of Stephen.
A.E. (George Russell)  -  A.E. is the pseudonym of George Russell, a famous poet of the Irish Literary Revival who is at the center of Irish literary circles—circles that do not include Stephen Dedalus. He is deeply interested in esoteric mysticism. Other men consult A.E. for wisdom as if he were an oracle.
Richard Best -  A librarian at the National Library. Best is enthusiastic and agreeable, though most of his own contributions to the Hamlet conversation in Episode Nine are points of received wisdom.
Edy Boardman -  One of Gerty MacDowell’s friends. Gerty’s uppity demeanor annoys Edy, who attempts to deflate Gerty with jibes.
Josie (née Powell) and Denis Breen  -  Josie Powell and Bloom were interested in each other when they were younger. Josie was good-looking and flirtatious. After Bloom married Molly, Josie married Denis. Denis Breen is slightly insane and seems paranoid. Looking after her “dotty” husband has taken its toll on Josie, who now seems haggard.
Cissy, Jacky, and Tommy Caffrey -  Cissy Caffrey is one of Gerty MacDowell’s best friends. She is something of a tomboy and quite frank. She looks after her younger toddler brothers, Jacky and Tommy.
The citizen -  An older Irish patriot who champions the Nationalist cause. Though the citizen seems to work for the cause in no official capacity, others look to him for news and opinions. He was formerly an athlete in Irish sports. He is belligerent and xenophobic.
Martha Clifford -  A woman with whom Bloom corresponds under the pseudonym Henry Flower. Martha’s letters are strewn with spelling mistakes, and she is sexually daring in only a pedestrian way.
Bella Cohen -  A conniving brothel-mistress. Bella Cohen is large and slightly mannish, with dark coloring. She is somewhat concerned about respectability, and has a son at Oxford, whose tuition is paid by one of her customers.
Martin Cunningham -  A leader among Bloom’s circle of friends. Martin Cunningham can be sympathetic toward others, and he sticks up for Bloom at various points during the day, yet he still treats Bloom as an outsider. He has a face that resembles Shakespeare’s.
Garrett Deasy -  Headmaster of the boys’ school where Stephen teaches. Deasy is a Protestant from the north of Ireland, and he is respectful of the English government. Deasy is condescending to Stephen and not a good listener. His overwrought letter to the editor about foot-and-mouth disease among cattle is the object of mockery among Dublin men for the rest of the day.
Dilly, Katey, Boody, and Maggy Dedalus -  Stephen’s younger sisters. They try to keep the Dedalus household running after their mother’s death. Dilly seems to have aspirations, such as learning French.
Patrick Dignam, Mrs. Dignam, and Patrick Dignam, Jr. -  Patrick Dignam is an acquaintance of Bloom who passed away very recently, apparently from drinking. His funeral is today, and Bloom and others get together to raise some money for the widow Dignam and her children, who were left with almost nothing after Paddy used his life insurance to pay off a debt.
Ben Dollard -  A man known around Dublin for his superior bass voice. Ben Dollard’s business and career went under a while ago. He seems good-natured but is perhaps rattled by a past drinking habit.
John Eglinton -  An essayist who spends time at the National Library. John Eglinton is affronted by Stephen’s youthful self-confidence and doubtful of Stephen’s Hamlet theory.
Richie, Sara (Sally), and Walter Goulding -  Richie Goulding is Stephen Dedalus’s uncle; he was Stephen’s mother, May’s, brother. Richie is a law clerk, who has been less able to work recently because of a bad back—a fact that makes him an object of ridicule for Simon Dedalus. Richie and Sara’s son, Walter, is “skeweyed” and has a stutter.
Zoe Higgins -  A prostitute in Bella Cohen’s brothel. Zoe is outgoing and good at teasing.
Joe Hynes -  A reporter for the Dublin newspaper who seems to be without money often—he borrowed three pounds from Bloom and has not paid him back. Hynes does not know Bloom well, and he appears to be good friends with the citizen in Episode Twelve.
Corny Kelleher  -  An undertaker’s assistant who is friendly with the police.
Mina Kennedy and Lydia Douce -  The barmaids at the Ormond hotel. Mina and Lydia are flirtatious and friendly to the men who come into the bar, though they tend to be scornful of the opposite sex when they talk together. Miss Douce, who is bronze-haired, seems to be the more outgoing of the two, and she has a crush on Blazes Boylan. Miss Kennedy, who is golden-haired, is more reserved.
Ned Lambert -  A friend of Simon Dedalus and other men in Dublin. Ned Lambert is often found joking and laughing. He works in a seed and grain warehouse downtown, in what used to be St. Mary’s Abbey.
Lenehan -  A racing editor at the Dublin newspaper, though his tip, Sceptre, loses the Gold Cup horserace. Lenehan is a jokester and flirtatious with women. He is mocking of Bloom but respectful of Simon and Stephen Dedalus.
Lynch -  A medical student and old friend of Stephen (he also appears in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man). Lynch is used to hearing Stephen’s pretentious and overwhelming aesthetic theories, and he is familiar with Stephen’s stubbornness. He is seeing Kitty Ricketts.
Thomas W. Lyster -  A librarian at the National Library in Dublin, and a Quaker. Lyster is the most solicitous of Stephen’s listeners in Episode Nine.
Gerty MacDowell -  A woman in her early twenties from a lower-middle-class family. Gerty suffers from a permanent limp, possibly from a bicycle accident. She fastidiously attends to her clothing and personal beauty regimen, and she hopes to fall in love and marry. She rarely allows herself to think about her disability.
John Henry Menton -  A solicitor in Dublin who employed Paddy Dignam. When Bloom and Molly were first courting, Menton was a rival for Molly’s affections. He is disdainful of Bloom.
Episode Twelve’s Nameless Narrator -  The unnamed narrator of Episode Twelve is currently a debt collector, though this is the most recent of many different jobs. He enjoys feeling like he is “in the know” and has gotten most of his gossip about the Blooms from his friend “Pisser” Burke, who knew them when they lived at the City Arms Hotel.
City Councillor Nannetti -  A head printer for the Dublin newspaper, and a member of Parliament. Nannetti is of mixed Italian and Irish heritage.
J. J. O’Molloy -  A lawyer who is now out of work and money. O’Molloy is thwarted in his attempts to borrow money from friends today. He sticks up for Bloom in Barney Kiernan’s pub in Episode Twelve.
Jack Power  -  A friend of Simon Dedalus and Martin Cunningham and other men around town. Power possibly works in law enforcement. He is not very nice to Bloom.
Kitty Ricketts -  One of the prostitutes working in Bella Cohen’s brothel. Kitty seems to have a relationship with Lynch and has spent part of the day with him. She is thin, and her clothing reflects her upper-class aspirations.
Florry Talbot -  One of the prostitutes in Bella Cohen’s brothel. Florry is plump and seems slow but eager to please.

More Help

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No Fear

by mdd07c, September 16, 2012

This book needs a No Fear for it! But if there were a No Fear made, it should be made in a different way from the others; some lines just need to be put into context. For example, I can't tell if one character is thinking or talking.

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11 out of 15 people found this helpful

No Fear and Video

by barty567, February 06, 2013

I think Ulysses, and all Joyce (except Finnegan's Wake) should have a No Fear and a summary video. These classics are often overlooked by kids my age, and they should be read!

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1 out of 1 people found this helpful

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