Chapter Six, Hades
Narrative Focus: Bloom
Characters: Bloom, Martin Cunningham, Simon Dedalus, Mr. Power, anonymous Man in the Macintosh, Corny Kelleher.
Setting: Glasnevin Cemetery and the cab en route, 11 am.
Bidden by Circe, Odysseus traveled to the underworld to consult the seer Tiresias about his fate and the manner of his return. While there, he encountered the shades of Agamemnon, Achilles, his mother Anticlea, and Elpenor, a comrade who had drunkenly fallen off Circe’s roof and broken his neck (Book XI). Paddy Dignam, Bloom’s close friend, here parallels Elpenor, the fallen companion.
Bloom rides to Glasnevin cemetery with Simon Dedalus and Martin Cunningham to attend Dignam’s funeral. They pass Stephen (with Mulligan) and Blazes Boylan, Molly’s lover, then join in the ritual and conversation that encircle Dignam’s funeral.
The funeral evokes in Bloom a grief for Rudy, his dead son, as well as instilling a new sense of guilt about his son’s death. His uneasiness about the Man in the Macintosh suggests that he, like Stephen, has a puzzle of identity to solve: is he an impostor or is he the father of Rudy Bloom and, despite her infidelities, the husband of Molly?