LIST OF MAIN CHARACTERS
A sickly child who suffers from poor eyesight, he is a loner who has
difficulty mixing with his contemporaries. What he lacks in physical prowess he makes up for in his artistic outlook. He excels at school in writing and acting and decides that a career in this are will
provide him with contentment.
He experiments with both the seedy and religious sides of life and his road to fulfillment is a hard one. He decides that in order to find his own artistic soul he must cut all ties with the past. He feels that he and Ireland have been let down by the ineffectual Roman Catholic Church and he Irish Nationalist movement.
Stephen’s good-natured but weak father does not provide Stephen with a good role model. His irresponsibility leads to his family facing a financial crisis that forces Stephen to leave
Boarding School and attend a Day School.
Mary follows strictly the Roman Catholic doctrines and her life is one of
continual pregnancy, poverty and the responsibility of holding her family together. She regards Stephen’s departure from Ireland at the end of the novel as her failure.
Stephen calls his nurse Aunt Dante, although there is no relation by
blood. She is a strict governess for all the Dedalus children and she is not shy in spouting her religious convictions, notably at Stephen’s first Christmas dinner with the adults.
Stephen’s younger brother who is unlike Stephen in that he is far less
intelligent and somewhat coarse. He too attends Belvedere College. Stephen also has 3 younger sisters, Katy, Maggie and Boody.
He is Stephen’s ageing great-uncle who lives in the Dedalus household.
He seems able to relate better to Stephen than his own father. He is a relic from Ireland’s distant past and a staunch Nationalist.
He is a close friend of Simon Dedalus and it is he who champions Parnell in
the face of criticism from Mrs. Riordan. He has been imprisoned on several occasions for making public speeches supporting Parnell.
She is perhaps the first woman that Stephen desired, being the daughter of
Stephen’s Protestant neighbors. As a child the na've Stephen suggested that he would marry Eileen and this was instantly nipped in the bud by Mrs. Riordan as out of the question - Catholics don’t marry
Protestants. Eileen was the first in a succession of women desired by Stephen, but who were criticized by others for varying reasons. Stephen particularly remembers Eileen’s “long white hands” and
through this image he obtains an understanding of the term “Tower of Ivory” which concerns the Blessed Virgin Mary. Ivory is also used in the description of the young girl on the beach in Chapter 4.
Emma Clery has similar characteristics to Eileen, also being an object of
Stephen’s suppressed desire.
One of the more caring teachers at Clongowes who looks after Stephen during
his visit to the school infirmary. It is through him that Stephen learns about Parnell’s death.
He is the sadistic Prefect of Studies who punishes Stephen using a pandybat
as he suspects unjustly that Stephen is avoiding class work. Through this incident Stephen starts to doubt the integrity of some clerics.
He is the Rector of Clongowes Wood College and gives Stephen a just hearing
when he complains about the treatment he received from Father Dolan.
However, later we learn that he considers the pandying incident as a joke, which he enjoys with Stephen’s father. Stephen learns about his betrayal and it not only greatly affects his view on the clerics at Clongowes, but also his father.
An austere Latin teacher at Clongowes who humiliates Stephen’s friend by
making him kneel in the middle of the classroom floor.
He delivers the sermons at the Three Day Retreat that Stephen attends later on in Chapter 3. He successfully puts the fear of God into Stephen that causes him to confess his serious sins and engage in a spell of piety.
He is Stephen’s friend during the summer holidays and they pursue many
adventures together. Stephen has fond memories of the carefree holidays he spent with Aubrey, particularly the summer at Blackrock before he enters Belvedere College.
Stephen describes Vincent as looking like the bird of his name.
Vincent is an exuberant boy and often ridicules Stephen for his subdued manner. Vincent’s close friend is a boy called Wallace.
BOLAND and NASH
This pair bully and taunt Stephen and make him agree with them that Tennyson
is a better poet than Byron, Stephen’s favorite.
DEAN of STUDIES
He is an English Jesuit Priest at University College, Dublin. In a
discussion with Stephen he soon demonstrates his blinkered perspective and poor philosophical perception.
Cranly is a loner, like Stephen, but he would welcome a closer contact with
his fellow students as opposed to Stephen who somewhat welcomes his solitude. He tries to warn Stephen about the dangers of leaving Ireland.
A crude student and one wonders why Stephen spent time in discussion with
this superficial ‘friend’. Stephen provides Lynch with his own personal viewpoint on aesthetics.
A rustic student from the country who becomes Stephen’s friend at the
University. He is patriotic and longs to see Ireland get home rule.