About the Book

Book Protagonist: Leopold Bloom
Publication Date: 1922
Genre: Literary Fiction

Character List


By James Joyce

In 'Ulysses', James Joyce centers the story around three major characters, namely:- Leopold Bloom, Molly Bloom, and Stephen Dedalus.

‘Ulysses’ plays host to three principal characters, namely Stephen Dedalus, Leopold Bloom, and Molly Bloom. James Joyce uses these three characters to drive much of this modernist tale home, along with an eclectic band of adhoc characters.

Leopold Bloom (Ulysses)

A newspaper ad salesman and conductor for a singing tour that involves his wife and her lover, Bloom plays the roles of schemer and cuckold in each of these roles. Although Bloom’s mind is constantly racing with futuristic ideas and inventions, he still enjoys simple sensory pleasures like breakfast and bathing. Even though he does not practice Judaism, he is Jewish.

Bloom is a character who both suffers from and exposes the exclusivity of Ireland and Irishness in 1904 because of his outsider position and his capacity to imagine an inclusive state. However, Bloom’s social exclusion is not only one-sided. When it comes to his male peers, Bloom is unbiased and generally unfeeling. Even though he is always friendly, he does not enjoy drinking frequently or gossiping, and he is not sorry to be excluded from their social circles.

Bloom is observant, decent, tolerant, and a little reserved. Bloom is a traveler like the Greek mythological hero Ulysses (Odysseus), to whom he is compared throughout the book, even though he never leaves the streets of Dublin. Bloom returns home to his adulterous wife, Molly, who has spent some of the days in bed with her lover, Blazes Boylan, following his psychological and literary wanderings.

Molly Bloom

The Penelope Episode of ‘Ulysses’ gives readers a complete portrait of Molly Bloom, as seen through the eyes of her dreamy reflections. In “Penelope,” Molly shows herself to be a perfectly genuine person: accepting of her sexuality, jealous of other women, occasionally depressed, demanding when dealing with a lover, and fully aware of her husband’s idiosyncrasies.

Molly Bloom was born in Gibraltar and is the daughter of a Gibraltarian/Spanish woman and Major Tweedy, an Irish officer. Although Molly frequently gives in to her urges for sex and/or kisses, she is not the nasty mistress Bloom imagined her to be in the “Circe” episode. Bloom occasionally feels pain from the ocean-like surge of her desire, but it also gives her power. Molly’s private monologue, an outburst of uninhibited thought, is the epicenter of ‘Ulysses’.

Molly never met her mother, who may have been Jewish or simply looked Jewish. Molly is associated by Bloom with the exoticism of the East and, to a lesser extent, the “hot-blooded” Mediterranean regions. However, Molly believes that her childhood was typical, given the absence of the dramatic entrances and exits of young, attractive warriors departing for battle. With few female pals, Molly appears to plan her life around men.

Stephen Dedalus

Stephen struggles with authority figures like his father, the Catholic Church, and the English. He has ambition and is poor. Despite being only 22 years old, he studied medicine and hopes to pursue a career as a writer. His burning desire to get away from his wretched family balances out his lingering remorse over his mother’s passing. Dedalus is a seeker once more in ‘Ulysses,’ as he was in ‘Portrait of The Artist As A Young Man,’ this time looking for significance in his past and present. As Leopold Bloom, the all-encompassing man, is shown here, he stands in for Telemachus, the son of Ulysses (Odysseus).

Stephen is a self-conscious young man whose identity is still forming at the start of ‘Ulysses.’ Stephen’s effort to define this identity is dramatized by his aloofness and his attempts to understand himself through fictitious characters like ‘Hamlet.’

In the majority of the novel’s actions, Stephen is shown to be superior. He mostly resides within his mental universe; as a result, he frequently deliberately places himself apart from other people and from the outside world through his behavior. His lack of material concerns is more evident than his generosity when it comes to money. Similar to how his undressed appearance represents his separation from the physical world.

Richard Irvine Best

Best appears in “Scylla and Charybdis” and served as the assistant director of Dublin’s National Library before becoming its director in 1904.

Marcus J Bloom

The dentist mentioned in “The Wandering Rocks” is this Bloom. He has no family ties to the main character, but his name serves as one of the episode’s “traps.”

Milly Bloom

Daughter of Bloom, age 15. She is pretty like her mother and is reportedly a little chubby. Even though her mother gets “corrupted” by Boylan on June 16, she has not yet lost her virginity while dating Bannon. Because of Milly’s tenacity, Molly frequently had to control her impoliteness.

Rudolph Bloom

Rudolph Virag, the father of Bloom, was born probably between 1807 and 1816; he passed away in 1886. Bloom will miss the forthcoming concert tour to Belfast because of his scheduled travel to Ennis to observe the anniversary of his father’s passing. After the passing of his wife, Rudolph eventually poisoned himself out of dejection.

Rudy Bloom

Son of Bloom, born December 29, 1893, passed away January 9, 1894. Since Rudy’s passing, Molly and Bloom have not engaged in full-fledged sexual activity, and Rudy is the last of the Virag-Bloom line. After “Circe,” Rudy appears to Bloom in a vision at the age he would have been if he had lived.

Blaze Boylan

Boylan, a prizefighter’s owner, a vocalist, and a “bill sticker,” has intercourse with Molly on June 16, 1904, just after 4:00 p.m.

Simon Dedalus

The father of Stephen is an alcoholic who compensates for his family’s neglect with humor, a sharp critical eye, and a beautiful singing voice.

Dilly Dedalus

This Stephen’s sister purchases a copy of Chardenal’s French Primer in a pitiful effort to escape the family’s misery. Bloom imagines her as a hungry, impoverished young girl who waits outside auction houses while her father indulges in bar hopping.


What is the character arc of Stephen Dedalus in ‘Ulysses’?

Stephen was created by James Joyce in a previous novel, ‘A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man’ as a character with sarcasm and empathy. Although Joyce applauded his young protagonist’s struggle against convention, he thought Stephen’s intolerable cynicism was a little arrogant. He compares himself to the mythical flying ace, “Daedalus,” in the novel ‘Ulysses’, and sees himself as an Icarus-like character who went too high and scorched his wings in the sun. In ‘Ulysses’, Stephen faces several issues, some of which are brought on by his inability to accept others around him due to his emotional detachment from them.

Is Leopold Bloom in ‘Ulysses’ a good man?

Yes, he is. Despite his flaws as a man, he is still a charitable human being. For instance, he attends Dignam’s burial even though he is aware that the other mourners will not accept him, and he later pays a visit to Paddy’s widow to explain the life insurance policy. (Ironically, he had met Cunningham for that purpose at Kiernan’s pub and was charged with defrauding widows and children.) Bloom gives hungry seagulls Banbury cakes. He feels sorry for the malnourished Dedalus kids. He aids the blind teenager in crossing the street. He visits Mina Purefoy, who has been in labor for three days, at Dr. Horne’s hospital. He also stays after Stephen is born because he believes Mulligan is secretly intoxicating Stephen.

Who is ‘The Citizen’ in ‘Ulysses’?

This disgusting, fervently nationalistic anti-Semite, who can only see reality with one eye, is Joyce’s take on the cyclops of today. After “The Cyclops,” he tosses a biscuit tin at Bloom as Bloom rides away in a “chariot” and ascends into “heaven.” The character of The Citizen is based on Michael (“Citizen”) Cusack (1847–1907), whose life’s work was to bring back Irish Gaelic games.

What is the relationship between Martha Clifford and Leopold Bloom in ‘Ulysses’?

Under the alias ‘Henry Flower’, Bloom corresponds with his pen buddy and platonic lover. At least 44 people responded to Bloom’s advertisement for a “clever lady typist to assist gentlemen in literary work,” including Martha. Since her name is probably a fictitious one, she is one of the riddles in ‘Ulysses’.

Charles Asoluka
About Charles Asoluka
Charles is an experienced content creator, writer, and literary critic. He has written professionally for multiple reputable media organizations. He loves reading Western classics and reviewing them.
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