Ulysses

by: James Joyce

Episode Twelve: “Cyclops”

The men briefly discuss Nannetti, who is running for mayor, and the citizen denounces Nanetti’s Italian origins. The conversation switches to sports: Hynes alludes to the citizen’s role as a founder of the Gaelic sports revival. Bergan mentions a recent boxing match from which Boylan profited. Bloom talks about lawn tennis while everyone else discusses Boylan. A sports journalese passage describes an Irish-English boxing match. Bergan brings up Boylan’s and Molly’s upcoming concert tour. Bloom is distant, and the narrator guesses that Boylan is sleeping with Molly.

J.J. O’Molloy and Ned Lambert enter. Conversation switches to Denis Breen’s madness—Bloom ponders Mrs. Breen’s suffering, but no one else is sympathetic. The citizen, involved in a conversation about Ireland’s troubles, begins making anti-Semitic and xenophobic remarks while looking at Bloom. Bloom ignores him.

John Wyse Nolan and Lenehan enter. Lenehan tells the narrator about the Gold Cup race. Throwaway, an outside horse won—Lenehan, Boylan, and Boylan’s “lady friend” lost money on Sceptre. The cit-izen continues declaring the exploitation of Ireland—he longs for the day when Ireland can respond to the wrongs England has committed against it with force.

Bloom contends that persecution perpetuates nationalistic hatred. Nolan and the citizen quiz Bloom about his own nationality. Bloom claims Irish nationality by birth and Jewish allegiance. Nolan suggests that the Jews have not properly stood up for themselves. Bloom responds that love and life are better options than force and hatred. Bloom leaves to go find Cunningham. The citizen ridicules Bloom’s call for love.

Lenehan tells everyone Bloom probably went to cash in on his Throwaway bet (see Episode Five for this misunderstanding). The narrator visits the outhouse, thinking disparagingly about Bloom’s stinginess. He returns inside to find everyone gossiping about Bloom.

Cunningham, Power, and Crofton arrive. A Renaissance-style passage describes the greetings. Cunningham asks for Bloom, and the new arrivals quickly become involved in the Bloom-gossiping. Cunningham reveals Bloom’s Hungarian origins and original family name, Virag. The citizen sarcastically suggests that Bloom is the new Messiah for Ireland. He jokingly suggests that Bloom’s children are not his own, then alludes to Bloom’s femininity. Cunningham calls for charity toward Bloom and toasts a blessing to all present. A passage describing the blessing ceremony follows.