Proteus

Episode 3, called "Proteus" in the schemas, takes place between the hours of 11 AM and noon. It is a dazzling performance, but the text poses extraordinary challenges for readers. Stephen Dedalus is alone here, doing nothing but walking on the tide flats of Dublin Bay, so the interior monologue that supplemented the narrative and dialogue of the first two chapters balloons to occupy nearly all of the text. Linati's schema identifies the episode's "technic" as "soliloquy," while Gilbert's says that it is "monologue (male)." Readers are alone with what Telemachus has called Stephen's "rare thoughts," and must work hard to follow along. They may also struggle to make sense of the Homeric analogy, whose outlines are much less clear than in the first two chapters. The central concern is protean flux: the distressing impermanence of all earthly things, against which the human mind wages perpetual war.

JH 2017

2013 photograph by Dara Connolly of the tide flats off Sandymount Strand. Source: awordfromjapan.wordpress.com.

Menelaus wrestling with Proteus, in an illustration by Walter Crane. Source: gordonstounodysseyblog.wordpress.com.

Frank Budgen's illustration of Proteus, one of four such plates in Budgen's James Joyce and the Making of Ulysses (Harrison Smith and Robert Haas, 1934).

Japanese painting of Kuzunoha the fox woman, casting a fox shadow. Source: Wikimedia Commons.