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JJ#5 - Ulysses - Episode 3: Proteus

Updated: Sep 16, 2022

Guide to support Ulysses.


Red = Various Language Used and It’s Translation

Orange = Word Description

- = Guided Plot

Noted Characters:

Stephen: Almost 100% stream of conscious writing.


Sandymount Strand - A area of sandy beach that tide comes and goes. Stephen is walking on this observing his surroundings and thinking through thoughts. South side of the mouth of the Liffey. Stephen arrived here by assumed public transport after leaving his teaching job in Dalkey.

  • “Ineluctable modality of the visible” - Stephen is toying with the thoughts of vision and what it is to see. “Shut your eyes and see”.

Most of this episode is stream of consciousness. Joyce did a great, but tiring job of documenting how the mind flows through thoughts. This episode is hard to follow and understand all the references. You feel like giving up many times. Push through it.

Odyssey: Telemachus is at the court of Menelaus. Menelaus is recounting his Journey him from Troy. He struggled to get him and felt the gods had held him back. Turns out Menelaus neglected the rules of sacrifice and he had no idea how to get home. Proteus, the daughter of the “Ancient of the sea”; second in command to Poseidon, felt bad and helped. She told him the secret to escape was to grasp and hold her father even though he would take forms of all beasts, water, and blinding fire to escape his grasp. Menelaus succeeded and was able to escape the island.

Kevin Egan = Menelaus (Memories of Stephens mission to Paris Kevin Egan stories)


Impenetrability in space in inevitable or uninterrupted extension in time.

Art: Philosophy

Color: Green

Symbol: Tide

Technique: Monologue

Shut Your Eyes And See Pg. 48

  • Ineluctable modality of the visible, Stephen is toying with the thoughts of vision and what it is to see. “Shut your eyes and see”.

Maestro di color che sanno - master of those who know (Dante called Aristotle in the inferno) - Italian

Scone - Head

Adiaphane = opaque; Diaphane = Translucent

Nacheinander - in succession

Nebeneinander - place or put side by side

  • Stephen is contemplating time and space using his other senses to see touch & sound.

  • Stephen pictures himself A Bucks he is in Bucks shoes & pants

Los Demiurgos - The Creator - The Demiurge

Ineluctable modality of the visible & audible

Unavoidable - mode or form - thought of sight & sound.

Gaze Into Your Omphalos Pg. 49

  • Stephen walking on Sandy Mount staring with his eyes closed, playing with sounds of the sea shells under his feet.

  • Stephen continues to play with feelings and sounds; reflecting on his steps and how rhythmic they sounds. He decides to open his eyes.

  • Stephen reviews Aristotles view that the world exists even without seeing it. (Vision)

  • Stephen sees some people, references Algy and his mother again (sea)

  • He believes he thinks he see’s two female. One with a bag and one with a umbrella.

  • Stephen starts to make up stories about where they come from and what they do; Stereotyping.

  • He plays through lots of things in his head: Birth, Adam & Eve, Buck.

External Law Of Nature Pgs. 50-51

  • Stephen contemplates material vs spiritual. He was made by a man and a woman but where god willed him into existence.

Lex eterna - External Law Of Nature

  • He questions whether father and son are the same.

  • He dives into Christian religion and trying to rationalize the relationships between god, the father, and Jesus, the son.

  • His thoughts jump back to Mr. Deasy’s letter and how he must not forget to take it to the press.

  • He reflects on Deasy telling him to save, he agree’s.

  • He slows his pace and thinks of his Aunt Sara’s house.

  • He plays on situations he envisions around his families interactions/relationships.

Dun - Bill Collector

Coign of Vantage - Advantageous corner - Macbeth

  • Entire next page is Stephen imagining his time at his Aunt and Uncles with family.

The Wind Is Sweeter & Houses Of Decay Pg. 52

All’erta - On alert / on guard

  • Stephen snaps back into reality & decides not to visit his Aunt

  • He describes “Houses Of Decay” explaining the family dynamic and how broken the situations are. Stephen wanting more than his broken family. But insinuates all the world is broken.

  • Maybe reference to locations where beauty isn’t found. March’s library, near St. Patricks Cathedral where Stephen has been.

  • “Come out of them” references A gospel where Jesus commands devils to remove themselves from processed people

Descende, cavre , utne nimium decalveris - come down, bald one, lest you be made excessively bald.

  • Dringdring - sacred bell noise - Important moment in Catholic ritual.

Sewage Breath, Isle of Saints, Isle of Dreadful Thirst -> Ireland Pgs. 53-54

  • Stephen continues to play through thoughts that he is at his uncles.

O Si, Certo - Oh Yeah Sure

  • He references portrait of the artist as a young man and his sudden spiritual manifestations, mocking too great insights. Epiphanies on green oval leaves.

  • Sewage breath - Isle of saints (71) - Isle of dreadful thirst - All referencing Ireland in many ways. Mouth of the Liffey is polluted, religious Ireland, Ireland has a drinking problem.

  • Stephen thinks of Paris as the opposite of Dublin. (Antithesis) - He fled Ireland to only survive on the lowest order in Paris.

Khrrrrklak Pgs. 55

Boul’ mich - boulevard of Saint Michael; boul - bowl (French); Mich - me (German)

  • Stephen explains he keeps a movie ticket in his pock as a Alibi if he was ever to be arrested.

  • Stephen thinks of a time he wanted to commit murder, went to the post office and they closed early on him. The clerk pretended to speak broken English.

  • Stephen thinks of himself as a missionary in France.

  • He thinks of Mulligans statement about killing his mother to an Irish song - Mat Hannigans Aunt.

Slainte! Pgs. 56

  • Stephen walks and stops to enjoy the view. Describes it as a sexual licentiousness city.

Licentiousness - lacking legal of moral restraint.

Post Prandial - post lunch/dinner desert

Slainte - to health - Irish Cheers/Toast

Delcassians - tribe (Ireland)

Blind Bodies, The Painters Ahib & His Pointer Pgs. 57-58

  • Stephen discusses political happenings of the time mostly discussing the French views and context for European Anti-Semitism.

  • My mind leaves his friend Kevin Egan and is now back at the sea. He thinks of his sleeping space and the tower.

  • He mentions Hanes, the usurper with the keg. Admits he will not sleep there tonight, homeless.

  • He describes Mulligan and Hanes as blind bodies, panthers sahib (Hanes) and his pointer (Mulligan)

I Zmellz De Bloodz Odz An Iridzman Pgs. 59

  • Starts off seeing the tide is rising.

Grike -> Fissure

  • He saw a dead dog covered in seaweed on the bench.

  • Stephen imagines the treasures of the world in and around the sandy shore. As well as dead treasures and beings in the world.

  • A real dog is seen to be running at him. Stephen thinks of a German philosophical thought “you will not be master of others or their slave”

  • He see’s two woman (Maries) who own the dog.

  • Jumps to wiking ship who raided Ireland & settled. He runs through more Irish history includes the famine and fighting off the vikings.

Terribilia Meditans Pgs. 60

  • Stephen is observing the dogs actions

  • Stephen reflects on himself and how weak he is. Compares himself to Buck and saving men from drowning but Stephen is afraid of water and a dog bark.

  • He questions if he would be strong and brave enough to save someone from drowning. Admits weak and trying to build himself.

  • He thinks he would try but not a strong swimmer. Then he thinks he would lose and die. Low confidence.

  • He realizes the two woman are actually a woman and a man.

Dimber Wapping Dell & Floating Foampool - Pgs. 61-66

  • Stephen continues to play with his thoughts on the dogs actions

  • Describes the dog burying his grandmother referencing his riddle from class

  • Transfers to thoughts of Haines

  • Morose delectation - Ill-tempered enjoyment

Morose delectation - Ill-tempered enjoyment

  • Stephen starts to dwell on his loneliness. Longing for a woman’s touch.

  • Stephen in a round about way describes himself pissing.

  • He goes back to thinking about women.

  • He reviews the circle of life. Uses his walking stick as a sword and sees ships coming into the bay.

Proteus Reflections:

The first page of this episode open up quite a bit of thought. “Ineluctable (inescapable) modality (mode) of the visible” and “Audible” This is our inescapable reliance on vision and sound to experience the world and ourselves. If you focus and hone in on using one less sense or on using only one sense you can “shut your eyes and see”. When. You shut off one sense, your other senses exponentially increase. Close your eye, you can process feeling with touch more. You can experience sound more.

Again, this is a hard episode to get through. What makes it hard is tracing the thoughts of a human. What you can find here is that Joyce is spot on with individuals minds. They lead your thoughts all over the place and random visual experiences and sounds remind or lead you down different paths. Based on ones experiences in life, these seem random to others, but may not be to that individual. What is the same, is that all folks can relate. Even though the topics aren’t similar or familiar, everyones mind wonders.

I am addicted to the way Joyce uses worlds to wittily describe subjects. The way he describes Ireland has having sewage breath, because the mouth of the Liffey is polluted, Dublin Bay. Also as the Aisle of Dreadful Thirst. Ireland has a drinking problem. When he pisses in the bay, "floating foampool". Love the labelling system.

At this stage in the story, Stephen is still a week person but admits it. He is not strong verbally or physically. This episode seems to focus on both the physical and mental portion of Stephens weakness.

Literary Works of Interest:

Aristotle - De Sensu et Sensibilia & De Anima - 350 BCE

Jacob Boehme - The Forty Questions of the Soul & The Clavis - 1647

George Berkely - An Essay Towards A New Theory of Vision - 1709

Gotthold Ephraim Lessing - Laocoön - 1766

William Blake - The Book of Los - 1795

Giuseppe Verdi - IL Trovatore” - 1853

TAXIL - La Vie de Jesus - 1884

Hegel - Phenomenology of Spirit - 1807

Nietzsche - Genology of Morals - 1887

W.B. Yeats - The Stolen Child - 1889

Richard Head - The Canting Academy - 1673

Douglas Hyde - Love Songs Of Connacht - 1893

W.B. Yeats - The Countless Kathleen - 1892

Ibsen - Brand - 1892

John Boyden - Mick Flecknoe - 1682


Gifford, Don, and Robert J. Seidman. Ulysses Annotated: Notes for James Joyce's Ulysses. Univ. of California Press, 2009.

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