Leopold Bloom is the main character James Joyce’s Ulysses, in which he has the same function as Ulysses in Homer’s Odyssey. The character of Bloom is based for some features on Italo Svevo, who was Joyce’s scholar and friend.
Born in 1866, he is the only son of Rudolph Virág, a Hungarian Jew that changed his last name to Bloom when he migrated to Ireland where he converted himself to Protestantism. Leopold married singer Marion “Molly” Tweedy in 1888, and she had a daughter, Millicent, born in 1889 and another son, Rudolph, born in 1893, who lived only eleven days. He lives with his family at number 7 of Eccles Street in Dublin.
In Ulysses the attention is mainly focused on Bloom and his modern Odyssey through the streets of Dublin during a single day, the 16th of June 1904. As he walks through the city, the thoughts that Bloom is more concerned about are the relationship between Molly and her lover Hugh Boylan, and, after attending the funeral of his friend Paddy Dignam, the death of her son Rudy. The absence of a son leads Leopold (Ulysses) to grow fond of Stephen (Telemachus), and to protect the young man in the last episode of the second part of the novel. Leopold takes Stephen out of a brothel, and along him to his own home and finally offers him a place to study and to work. Bloom also compares the chauvinist tendencies of many fellow citizens, and reveals his inclination to masochism.
Under the pseudonym Henry Flower, he holds a correspondence with Martha Clifford, a woman he never met whom he got to know through a newspaper advertisement. Bloom hates violence and his indifference to Irish nationalism leads him to always disagree with many compatriots.
The starting episode is at 8a.m. on Thursday, June 16, 1904, in Ireland.
The main characters are: Stephen Daedalus, Buck Mulligan, Haines, Molly Bloom.
There are many references to Greek mythology, an example is the name Penelope.
The summary of the episode is: young Stephen Daedalus awakens and interacts with his two housemates, the egotistical medical student, Buck Mulligan, and the overly reserved English student, Haines. Stephen, having politely refused lodgings at the home of two other principal characters, Leopold and Molly Bloom, discovers he is no longer welcomed to stay with Mulligan and Haines. The remaining three chapters may be seen as Ulysses homecoming to Ithaca.
This chapter begins and ends with the affirmative “yes”. The yeses represent Molly’s ongoing optimism to life in general, punctuating the choices she has made and the memories she has revisited during the entire soliloquy. The key here is found in Molly’s ultimate decision to serve Bloom breakfast in bed the day after.
Molly Bloom is a very confident woman. Her role in society depends on the eyes of the observer. The character of Molly, in the eyes of the society, seems an egocentric woman, the one who does not care about the external world and her husband. The author describes her as a very sensitive woman, with a not simple childhood, aware of what it means humility.
Stephen Dedalus, James Joyce’s alter-ego in the novel, is one of the three main characters of Ulysses. During the story, the interactions between Stephen and the other characters, like Mr. Deasy, Buck, Haines, crystallize our sense of the damaging ties and obligations that have resulted from Stephen’s return to Ireland due to the death of his mother, after he decided to go to Paris. He is present in most of the action of the novel, and many of his struggles tend to revolve around his mother and his father with whom he has not got a good relationship. This will lead him to struggle to define his identity throughout the all story and to isolate himself, finding a safe place into alcohol. By the end of the novel he recognize the power of a reciprocal relationship to provide sustenance after he has a sobering conversation with Bloom, who gives him shelter after all the day’s quarrels: potentially quitting his job at Deasy’s school and breaking with his flat mates.