The entwining of Shakespearean and Homeric parallels begun in Telemachus continues in Proteus, as Stephen turns from The Tempest's mystical consolation for a death by drowning ("Full fathom five thy father lies . . . A seachange this") to The Odyssey's benign prophecy that its hero will die at sea ("Seadeath, mildest of all deaths known to man"). Stephen associates this mysteriously beautiful death with "Old Father Ocean," Proteus.

JH 2017

16th century woodblock print of Proteus from Andrea Alciato's Book of Emblems. Source: Wikimedia Commons.