Ulysses: Novel Summary: Chapter Two – Episode 11

Chapter Two – Episode 11The Sirens
This is set at the Ormond Hotel at 4 pm and the sirens of The Odyssey may be observed, loosely, as having parallels with the barmaids – Miss Kennedy and Miss Douce. Miss Douce sees Bloom and laughs. She imagines how awful it must be to be married to him. Simon Dedalus talks and flirts with the women and plays the piano which has been recently tuned by the blind stripling. Boylan enters and Bloom the unconquering hero passes and is surprised to see his car. He is surprised because he has believed Boylan would be at his house at 4 pm with Molly.
Bloom comes in with Goulding and Boylan leaves. Bloom eats liver and bacon and Simon agrees to sing the aria from Martha. As Bloom starts to write a letter to Martha, his secret pen-friend, Boylan sits in a cab, travels to Eccles Street, gets out and knocks on Mollys door; a cock crows to signify betrayal. Outside the Ormond, Bloom sees a prostitute who he knows, and breaks wind as a tramcar passes to disguise the noise.
This episode offers the allure of the sirens to be personified ironically in the guise of two barmaids. This appears to be as far as the parallel can be drawn between Ulysses and The Odyssey in this episode, except the attraction of singing is maintained. It is also worth remembering that Ulysses/Odysseus in The Odyssey is tied to a mast and he and his crew are prepared well enough to avoid being tempted to their doom.
The unconquering hero – Bloom – notes Boylans car. Throughout the day Blooms thoughts have circled continually back to the idea that Boylan is to visit Molly at home at 4 pm and that consequently he will be made a cuckold. It is of interest that as Boylan travels to visit Molly, Bloom decides to write to Martha.