The Catholic doctrine of Purgatory comes up several times in Ulysses, in connection with the recently deceased Paddy Dignam and with the ghost in Shakespeare's Hamlet. Purgatory (Latin purgare = to cleanse) is a condition or place in the afterlife where those who will ultimately enter heaven, but whose souls are not yet sufficiently pure to do so, have their venial sins purged away by divinely devised tortures. The torment most often mentioned, fire, prompts one of Bloom's better witticisms of the day.

John Hunt 2023

Fire-roasted souls tormented by devils and comforted by angels in a detail from The Coronation of the Virgin, 1454 altarpiece by Engerrand Quarton held in the Musée de l'Hospice Comtesse, Lille. Source: www.bl.uk.

An Angel Frees the Souls of Purgatory, ca. 1610 oil on canvas painting by Ludovico Caracci held in the Vatican Museums. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

William Frederick Wakeman's 1876 illustration of pilgrims being rowed to Station Island in County Donegal, published in D. Canon O'Connor's St. Patrick Purgatory, Lough Derg (Dublin, 1903). Source: Wikimedia Commons.

Angels feeding souls through a purgatorial furnace in the 15th century manuscript Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry. Source: Wikimedia Commons.