Bloom finds Bella Cohen standing before him—again, only seconds seem to have “really” passed since her entrance. Bloom gets his lucky potato back from Zoe. Bella demands payment from the men, and Stephen gives Bella more than enough money for all three of them. Bloom puts down some of his own money and returns Stephen’s overpayment to him, then takes control of all Stephen’s money for the evening, since Stephen is drunk.

Zoe reads Bloom’s palm and pronounces him a “henpecked husband.” Another hallucination ensues, involving Bloom watching Boy-lan and Molly have sex. Talk turns to Stephen’s Parisian adventures and Stephen colorfully describes his escape from his enemies and his father.

Zoe starts the pianola, and everyone except Bloom dances. Stephen spins faster and faster, nearly falling. The rotting ghost of his mother rises up from the floor. Stephen is horrified and remorseful—he asks for confirmation that he did not cause her death. The ghost is noncommittal in response, speaking of God’s mercy and wrath. The others notice Stephen looks petrified, and Bloom opens a window. Stephen defiantly tries to dispel the ghost and his own remorse, proclaiming that he will stand alone against those who try to break his spirit. Stephen crashes his walking stick into the chandelier. Bella calls for the police, and Stephen runs out the door. Bloom quickly settles with Bella, then runs after Stephen.

Bloom catches up with Stephen, who is surrounded by a crowd and is haranguing British Army Private Carr about unwanted British military presence in Ireland. Stephen announces his own personal intent to mentally subvert both priest and king. Bloom tries to intervene. Carr, feeling his king has been insulted, threatens to punch Stephen. Edward VII, the citizen, the Croppy Boy, and “Old Gummy Granny,” the personification of Ireland, appear to encourage the fight, though Stephen remains distasteful of violence.

Lynch impatiently leaves. Stephen calls Lynch “Judas,” the betrayer. Carr knocks Stephen out. The police arrive. Bloom spots Corny Kelleher, who is close with policemen, and enlists his help with Simon’s son. Kelleher satisfies the police and leaves. Alone in the street, Bloom bends over the barely conscious Stephen, as an apparition of Rudy, Bloom’s son, appears.


Not much “really” happens in Episode Fifteen, though it is the longest. The bulk of the episode consists of hallucinations that actually take place in the real-time span of a second or two. In the first half of the episode, we can distinguish the lengthy hallucinations as emerging from either Stephen’s or Bloom’s subconscious. Thus Bloom’s hallucinations are either persecutory in tone, focusing on sexual guilt, or involve an element of wish-fulfillment, as with the appearance of Josie Breen.