Woman brought sin

As if in response to Stephen's salvo about God being a shout in the street, which cannot possibly make any sense to him, Deasy's argumentative tirade trails off into irrelevancy and sheer unintelligibility. He scores a glancing ad hominem blow: "I am happier than you are." But then he veers into thoughts of sexual sin: "We have committed many errors and many sins. A woman brought sin into the world. For a woman who was no better than she should be, Helen, the runaway wife of Menelaus, ten years the Greeks made war on Troy. A faithless wife first brought the strangers to our shore here, MacMurrough's wife and her leman, O'Rourke, prince of Breffni. A woman too brought Parnell low." What is one to make of all the misogyny? One possibility is that there has been adultery in Deasy's marital past.

John Hunt 2012

Adam and Eve, painted by Lucas Cranach the Elder (1533).
Source: www.wikipaintings.org.

Miniature photograph of Katharine O'Shea that Parnell kept with him in Kilmainham Gaol. Source: Wikimedia Commons.