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by James Joyce

John Eglinton Timeline and Summary

Episode 9: Scylla and Charybdis

  • It's 2pm in the National Library on Kildare Street.
  • Eglinton, in light mockery, asks Stephen if he has found six young people to whom he can dictate his work. He suggests that Stephen will try to re-write Paradise Lost, but from Satan's point of view.
  • Eglinton argues that no young Irishman has created a figure to compare with Shakespeare's Hamlet.
  • Stephen reminds everyone that Aristotle was Plato's student. Eglinton hopes that Aristotle is still regarded as nothing more than Plato's student.
  • Stephen says that Aristotle would find Hamlet 's musing as shallow as Plato's, but Eglinton says it irritates him to no end to hear Aristotle be compared to Plato.
  • Mr. Best informs Eglinton that Haines, the Englishman, is very interested in Hyde's Lovesongs of Connacht. Eglinton thinks that all Haines's smoking is going to his head.
  • When Stephen makes a joke out of a reference to Mallarmé, Eglinton laughs.
  • A few moments later, Eglinton says dismissively to Mr. Best that Stephen wants to think of Hamlet as a ghost story.
  • Eglinton points out that Stephen is flying in the face of literary tradition. He suggests that Hathaway was always a martyr for literature, that she died before she was born.
  • Eglinton suggests that Shakespeare's marriage to Hathaway was just a mistake.
  • When Stephen says that mistakes are the portals of discovery, Eglinton argues that Hathaway was a shrew and could hardly have been a portal of discovery. He wonders what Socrates learned from his ill-tempered wife Xanthippe.
  • Russell announces that he has to leave, and Eglinton asks if he will be at the poet George Moore's reading this evening. He announces to the group that Russell is putting together a young group of Irish poets.
  • Eglinton re-starts their conversation on Shakespeare, pointing out that he is the most enigmatic of great men because so little is known of his life.
  • Eglinton smiles condescendingly. He tells Stephen that Mulligan had warned him that he would be in for some paradoxes, but that Stephen will have to work harder if he is going to shake Eglinton's belief that Shakespeare corresponds to Hamlet.
  • Stephen very eloquently argues that Shakespeare had such a huge imagination that he could correspond to a number of different characters. Eglinton is not pleased, and says that if that were how one measured genius than "genius would be a drug in the market" (9.152).
  • Eglinton questions Shakespeare's role in writing one of the plays Stephen cites, and quotes a critic who says that Shakespeare could always stick to high human affections.
  • Stephen cites a critic suggesting that the birth of Shakespeare's granddaughter coincides with the beginning of the period of his late plays. Eglinton is skeptical. Mulligan enters.
  • Eglinton brings up another theory that Hamlet is an Irishman. Mulligan and Stephen enter into lighter discussion.
  • Eglinton now encourages Stephen, says he wants to hear more about Ann Hathaway.
  • Later, Stephen tells Eglinton that the burden of proof regarding Ann Hathaway lies with Eglinton and not Stephen. He asks why Shakespeare never mentioned Hathaway for thirty-four years after their marriage.
  • Eglinton asks if he is speaking of the will, and Stephen points out that "he left her his secondbest bed" (9.260). Eglinton contends the point, but Stephen argues that Shakespeare was a wealthy countrygentleman and that he could have left her his best bed.
  • Eglinton tries to remember other famous wills, and Stephen remembers the terms of Aristotle's will.
  • Eglinton thinks that Freud's terms can explain the charges of pederasty.
  • Stephen suggests that Shakespeare was a Jew. Eglinton challenges him to prove it. The common belief is that he was a Roman Catholic.
  • Later, Eglinton is more susceptible to Stephen's argument, but then remembers what Russell said. He doubts that Shakespeare's family experience is actually important to his plays. He thinks that Falstaff was Shakespeare's greatest creation.
  • Stephen explains his theories on fatherhood, and Eglinton seems impressed.
  • Stephen thinks that Shakespeare's brothers Richard and Edmund are involved in the plays.
  • Eglinton wonders what one can conclude from names alone.
  • Eglinton is pleased with Stephen's interpretation of Shakespeare's name, and notes how odd his own name is.
  • Eglinton presses Stephen to expound his theory of Richard and Edmund.
  • Eglinton suggests a compromise. They will view Shakespeare as both the ghost and the prince. Stephen agrees, but goes further.
  • Eglinton admires Iago, and recollects the line "After God Shakespeare has created most" (9.371). Stephen wraps up his argument in wild eloquence, concluding that each man is his own wife.
  • Best laughs, and Eglinton says that Stephen has gone all this way to give them the French triangle of man-wife-lover.
  • Eglinton asks if Stephen believes his own theory. Stephen says that he does not.
  • Eglinton tells him that he shouldn't expect to be paid if he doesn't believe his own theory.

Episode 15: Circe

  • Eglinton appears briefly in a fever-induced dream of Stephen's in Bella Cohen's brothel. He says that he is for plain truth, no fancy esthetics or cosmetics.