Episode 6, Hades,~pp 86-114

Important Themes of Episode 6

  • Blindness: Odysseus descends into the underworld to learn who prevents his return home and why. The blind soothsayer Tiresias satisfies his query, but blind sages are in short supply in Dublin. Some stumble blind drunk, but the sagacious are few. Stephen had toyed with the ineluctability of vision on Sandymount’s strand, but so far his blindness is merely due to broken glasses. The historical Joyce had nine surgeries on his eyes and famously wore a patch over one eye for some time in his maturity. Perhaps he attained a demi-wisdom from demi-blindness. Dublin’s name comes from the language of the Danes and translates “Dark (or Black) Pool.” While “natural” Dubliners are blind, the outsider Bloom is naturally sighted. Ultimately he’ll share his vision with Stephen. The funeral processes past the hospice where Dante Riordan began her slow procession to the cemetery. In the opening pages of Joyce’s Portrait of the Artist. The toddler Stephen is chastised by Mrs. Riordan. She threatens: “(Apologize) O, if not, the eagles will come and pull out his eyes.” Not named Dante without good reason, children are not exempt from torture in her Hades.
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