Study Guide

Bella Cohen in Ulysses

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Bella Cohen

Bella Cohen is the rather manly looking prostitute madame in "Circe." She herself is the double for the witch from the Odyssey insofar as she transfixes Bloom. Bloom is both disgusted and intimidated by her appearance, and it prompts an extended masochistic fantasy. Bloom imagines that she transforms into a cruel man-tamer named Mr. Bello (based on the cruel circus master from the book Ruby: the Pride of the Ring). 

As Mr. Bello, Bella derides Bloom, makes him get down on all fours and rides him like a horse. She treats him like a prostitute and has an auction where she bids him off. When Bloom becomes increasingly pathetic, she simply taunts him with images of other men in his house going through his underwear drawer. Once the masochistic fantasy ends, Bella returns to normal. She demands that the men pay if they are going to hang out in her brothel, and when Stephen breaks the chandelier before rushing out she threatens to call the police on him.

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