Bloomsday for Cab Drivers / 9: Leopold Bloom
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Rider Painter. Odysseus and his men blinding Polyphemus, Laconian black-figure cup, 565–560 BC. Cabinet des médailles de la Bibliothèque nationale de France, Paris. Luynes Collection. Donation 1852. Accession number: Inv. 190. (Photograph by Bibi Saint-Pol, 2007-05-31.)

Odysseus and some of his men use a sharpened tree trunk (not to scale) to blind Polyphemus, the giant one-eyed Cyclops, who is shown snacking on the remains of one of their less fortunate companions.

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Bloomsday for Cab Drivers / 9

Leopold Bloom

The underlying structure of Ulysses is a parody of Homer's epic poem The Odyssey.

The Odyssey tells the story of the Greek hero Odysseus (AKA Ulysses) who, thanks to the machinations of various hostile deities, spends 19 years trying to get back to Greece following the Trojan War.

Ulysses is made up of 18 "episodes" that correspond to sections of Homer's epic, and Leopold Bloom's wanderings around Dublin parallel Odysseus's adventures on the way home from Troy.

But Leopold, though decent enough in his way, cuts a very unheroic figure and Odysseus's faithful wife Penelope has a rather imperfect counterpart in Molly Bloom, who is cheerfully unfaithful to Leopold with many of his friends and acquaintances.

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