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Associated Sainthood

Monday, October 5, 2009; 12:42 am Leave a comment Go to comments

Well, Scylla and Charybdis on its own is filled with lots of fun heresy and Catholic imagery. However I guess I should start with Saint Augustine and Stephen back in Aeolus. Stephen will freely associate himself with the fathers of the church when he is trying to prove his intellectual prowess, and more importantly, when he isn’t near Buck. He thinks of Augustine in the Press room, surrounded by the older men he is trying to impress, and uses the arguments of the Saint to reinforce his determination to keep himself from being completely tied to the nationalist movement (117). Later in the day, he asks specifically: “Ignatius Loyola, make haste to help me!” as he argues his point with the other librarians and literary luminaries (155). Obviously he is calling on the Jesuit discipline that he learned at school, but the fact remains that Stephen turns to the saints of his Catholic childhood in times of trouble. The saints are used in his shared intellectual endeavors, unlike in Proteus, where his mind felt for Arius and Sabellius. Agustine and Loyola are the tools he uses among his intellectual peers to win them to his side.

However, once Buck enters the picture Steven reverts to heretics. In one sense this makes Buck a creative force. His presence, or even the shadow of his presence, forces Stephen out of his ingrained childhood thought patterns, as Stephen unconsciously chooses to rebel against being associated with the Jesuit teaching of his childhood. Here Buck calls his friend “you peerless mummer! O, you priestified Kinchite!” and Stephen’s thoughts respond by turning in more pagan, heretical directions. “Oisin with Patrick” recalls pre-christian Ireland as well as “his image, wandering” recalls the diaspora, the Jews who are heretics before the church (164). In another sense, however, Buck forces Stephen into a situation where Stephen belittles himself. As Stephen imagines the brood of mockers once more, recently surprised by the “enemy” Buck, “psuedo Malachi” is his dismissal of that enemy (162). However, in five pages Sephen becomes “Mocker” in his own script (167). Not only is he repeating exactly what makes him contemptuous of Buck, Mulligan is actual a single, identifiable heretic personality in Stephen’s mind, while Stephen is just one of the brood of mockers.

It is possible that he realizes this. As soon as Stephen goes back to the sainthood association by buttressing his Hamlet arguments with Tomas Aquinas he can be seen “smiling” and far more relaxed (169). Earlier Buck had already stated that he wasn’t equal to Thomas Aquinas (15), and Stephen uses the intellectual father as his defense against his enemy (169). Although Buck still tries to interrupt Stephen, no more mentions of Jesuit, or direct attacks on Stephen’s intellectualism follow. Buck, it seems is running scared of Aquinian theory.

In fact, once Stephen picks up Aquinas his arguments begin to put the combative Eglinton, and waffling Best to rout. However, he cannot win without the arguments of Sabellius, in conjunction with Thomas Aquinas. They force Eglinton to flatter Stephen (171), and the assistant librarian does not try to put forward his own arguments, again. When Stephen is finished, Aglinton captitulates with “[t]he truth is midway, he affirmed. He is the ghost and the prince. He is all in all” (174). All three of the men Stephen is trying to convince, Eglinton, Best, and Lyster, begin to listen in an intellectual trinity (“They list. Three. They.” pg. 171) as Stephen makes use of Sabellian theory as well as Aquinian to make his argument. For all that Eglinton tries to claim that the truth is midway, he has come to complete agreement with Stephen’s real argument. Shakespeare, like God, like Jesus, like the Ghost, is all in all.

Muck like Stephen, actually. Stephen is his own creative god, the mourning ghost, and the crucified Jesus. If we take the ashplant he carries as a crucifix, the way Blamires would like us to (9), Stephen appears to be the heretical Jesus, enemy of Judiasm’s Pharisees. Compared to Bloom, who, although seemingly crucified in Hades (76), tends to take on the role of Jesus the Healer, Stephen’s relationship to God is generally the angry, jealous God of the old testament. Bloom, oddly, seem to be the return of the gentler son of God who will die for mankind’s sins. His acts are benign, such as helping the blind stripling cross the street (149). In this scene he’s both Jesus and the good Samaritan, helpful, and not interested in help in return.

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