Stephen feels betrayed by various characters and institutions as follows:
His father: As Stephen develops, he realizes how inept his father is and there are two particular instances where he
feels betrayed. On their visit to Cork when they do a circuit of the pubs, Simon ridicules his son in front of his drinking companions.
Stephen recognizes that his father is trying to patronize him. He is disappointed that his father does not realize how intelligent he is. When Stephen starts his new school at Belvedere his father jokes about Stephen’s previous experience with Father Dolan at Clongowes. The adults seem to be having a joke at Stephen’s expense and to him this was an important event in his life, not one to be ridiculed.
His mother: Stephen feels betrayed to a lesser degree by his mother, because she blindly stays loyal to her husband
and the Catholic Church, even although this loyalty brings deprivation on the whole family.
She never questions her faith and expects all her family to suffer along with her. Consequently Stephen is forced to betray her. He knows he cannot stay with his family and change it because they are impossible to influence, so he has to leave them to their fate.
The teachers: Apart from a few exceptions, most of the teachers who are Clerics, betray their pupils and therefore,
Some seem to delight in inflicting physical pain and punishments on their charges, and only abide by those passages in the Bible that support their harsh regime. Even at University, the Dean betrays his students by not allowing them to express themselves fully. They must stay within the confines of religious doctrine and totally free expression is not allowed.
The Church: Stephen feels that the Church betrayed the Irish Nationalist movement when they crushed Parnell. In Stephen’s opinion the Church
puts too much store in blind obedience and following the rituals of Catholicism rather than promoting God’s love for his people. God’s love in the view of the Church can only be experienced in the life
hereafter, and is reserved for those that are in a state of grace. It is the lot of the majority of people to suffer in this life and reap the benefits in the next.