Telemachus concludes with an epiphanic snippet of interior monologue that crystallizes Stephen's thoughts about the man who has just "called to him from the sea." "Usurper" implies that, like Telemachus and Hamlet, Stephen feels deprived of his rightful place by a malicious interloper. He may not be thinking of princes deposed in their royal palaces, but he has reason for feeling usurped at this moment, and readers have reason to think of the Odyssey and Hamlet, because Mulligan has just taken from him the key to the tower that evokes those palaces. The recognition implied by this one word leads to many others.

John Hunt 2020

Craig Schwartz's 2007 photograph of Hamlet (Lucas Hall), Claudius (Bruce Turk), and Gertrude (Celeste Ciulla) in an Old Globe production of Hamlet directed by Darko Tresnjak in San Diego. Source:

16th century oil portrait by an unknown artist of King Henry IV of England who usurped the royal throne from his cousin Richard II, held in the National Portrait Gallery, London. Source: Wikimedia Commons.