Ulysses: Novel Summary: Chapter Two – Episode 9

Scylla and Charybdis
The focus shifts once more to Stephen, who is in the directors office of the National Library and a discussion about Irish writers in comparison with English ones, in particular Shakespeare. The men present then argue about the validity of referring to an authors biography and Shakespeare is once more used as a cultural reference point.
Mulligan enters and is reading a telegram Stephen sent him. Bloom is also at the library and wants to see the files for the Kilkenny People. Mulligans anti-semitism becomes evident and he relates how he saw Bloom in the museum – looking at the statues in an indecent manner.
Their discussion returns to Shakespeare, and Stephen compares Ann Hathaway (his wife) to Penelope (the wife of Odysseus/Ulysses – and a parallel may be drawn with Molly in this novel). The novel takes on the format of a play as Stephen talks about Shakespeare having three brothers, and how this is seen in his plays. However, when asked, Stephen says he does not believe his own theory.
As Stephen and Mulligan leave, a man passes them and it becomes evident that this is Bloom. Stephen remembers his dream again, which turns out later to have a hint of prophecy, of a melon, friendship and being welcomed with a red carpet. Mulligan refers to Bloom as the wandering Jew.
Once more, Bloom may be observed on the fringes of the society of other men. This is made more obvious with Mulligans derogatory remarks about him. The coincidental passing between Bloom and Stephen is also of note as these two characters are central to this work; this chance encounter prefigures their walk to Blooms house in Chapter Three.