Witching hour

In Circe Bloom flirts lasciviously with Josie Breen at "The witching hour of night." In Hades he imagines John O'Connell and his wife making love in "The shadows of the tombs when churchyards yawn." The words of both passages derive from the soliloquy in which Hamlet prepares to chastise his mother for marrying Claudius. The spooky horror of this soliloquy becomes linked with sexual passion in Bloom's thoughts, probably because of the Oedipally suggestive encounter between Gertrude and Hamlet that takes place shortly afterward in her bedroom.

John Hunt 2022

Karen Hunnicutt's 2008 photograph When Churchyards Yawn.
Source: www.flickr.com.

Émile Bayard's Dance of the Sabbath, illustration in Paul Christian's History of Magic (Paris, 1870). Source: Wikimedia Commons.

Madeleine Potter as Gertrude and Michael Urie as Hamlet in a 2018 production by the Shakespeare Theatre Company. Source: www.theatermania.com.