AI Ulysses

We’ve entered a new era of computing. Similar to the dawn of the Netscape browser, of Google, and of mp3 music, the availability of ‘chatbot’ software opens new horizons. It’s a tool that some might find useful, others find challenging, and some find offensive.

If you are not familiar with its capabilities, I spent a few minutes (literally, just a few) asking it questions about what many consider one of the most challenging of novels: James Joyce’s Ulysses.

ChatGPT is free to use (login required) and has a simple interface where you can pose questions for an immediate response.

Here’s are the responses to my questions about Ulysses.

** UPDATE (July 11, 2023) Claude 2 is a new chatbot from Anthropic. I asked it to respond to the same prompts. Also note that the original posting from Dec 2022 elicited a set of responses from ChatGPT that were significantly different from the ones when I re-ran the prompts in July 2023, after ChatGPT 4 was released in March. As developments continue, and given the random nature of repeat prompts, your mileage might vary for both chatbots if you were to run these same prompts.


Q: Write a 100 word introduction to James Joyce’s Ulysses.

“Ulysses” by James Joyce is a literary masterpiece that redefines the boundaries of the novel. Published in 1922, it follows the lives of Leopold Bloom, Molly Bloom, and Stephen Dedalus over the course of a single day in Dublin, Ireland. Joyce’s innovative narrative techniques, including stream of consciousness and multiple perspectives, provide a deep exploration of the characters’ inner thoughts and emotions. Set against the backdrop of Dublin in the early 20th century, “Ulysses” delves into themes of identity, sexuality, religion, nationalism, and the human condition. It remains a complex and influential work that challenges and captivates readers with its linguistic virtuosity and profound insights.


Here is a 100 word introduction to James Joyce’s novel Ulysses:

Ulysses is considered one of the most important works of modernist literature. First published in 1922, the novel chronicles a single day – June 16, 1904 – in the life of Leopold Bloom in Dublin, Ireland. Drawing on Homer’s Odyssey, Joyce crafts a complex narrative through 18 episodes that follow Bloom on his odyssey through Dublin. Through experimental literary techniques like interior monologue and stream of consciousness, Joyce explores complex themes of identity, nationalism, religion, and more. Despite initial controversy over its frank depictions of sexuality, Ulysses is now hailed as a groundbreaking masterpiece of 20th century fiction.

ChatGPT & Claude (no significant difference)

Q: List the chapters of James Joyce’s Ulysses

James Joyce’s Ulysses is divided into 18 chapters, also known as “episodes,” each of which is associated with a specific episode from Homer’s Odyssey:

  1. Telemachus
  2. Nestor
  3. Proteus
  4. Calypso
  5. Lotus Eaters
  6. Hades
  7. Aeolus
  8. Lestrygonians
  9. Scylla and Charybdis
  10. Wandering Rocks
  11. Sirens
  12. Cyclops
  13. Nausicaa
  14. Oxen of the Sun
  15. Circe
  16. Eumaeus
  17. Ithaca
  18. Penelope

Each of these chapters is further divided into smaller sections, and the novel as a whole covers a wide range of themes and subjects, including love, loss, identity, and the human condition.


Q: Tell me more about 1.

Chapter 1 of “Ulysses” is titled “Telemachus.” It serves as the opening episode of the novel and introduces the character of Stephen Dedalus, who was also the central character in Joyce’s earlier work, “A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man.” Here are some key details about Chapter 1:

  1. Setting: The chapter is set in a Martello tower located in Sandycove, a seaside town near Dublin, Ireland. The tower itself is a historical fortification.
  2. Characters: The primary characters in this episode include Stephen Dedalus, Buck Mulligan, and Haines. Stephen is a young artist and intellectual, while Buck Mulligan is a boisterous and irreverent friend of Stephen’s. Haines is an English student staying in the tower.
  3. Themes: “Telemachus” explores themes of identity, religion, and authority. The dynamic between Stephen and Buck Mulligan highlights their contrasting perspectives on religion, as well as Stephen’s struggle to establish his own identity and distance himself from the influence of others.
  4. Mythological Allusions: The chapter’s title, “Telemachus,” refers to the son of Odysseus in Homer’s “Odyssey.” Telemachus embarks on a journey to find his father and assert his own identity. This allusion sets the stage for Stephen’s own journey of self-discovery throughout the novel.
  5. Writing Style: Joyce’s distinctive writing style is evident in Chapter 1. The narrative combines descriptions of the physical surroundings with internal monologues, stream-of-consciousness passages, and the use of multiple perspectives. The prose is rich with symbolism, wordplay, and references to literature and history.
  6. Symbolism: The Martello tower itself can be seen as a symbol of the cyclical nature of history and the passage of time. It also serves as a metaphorical starting point for Stephen’s personal odyssey and his quest for artistic and intellectual fulfillment.

“Telemachus” sets the tone for the novel, establishing the themes, characters, and narrative style that will be further developed in subsequent chapters. It presents readers with a glimpse into Stephen Dedalus’s world and introduces the complexities of his relationships and inner struggles.


Here’s a brief summary of the first episode/chapter “Telemachus” in Ulysses:

  • This episode takes place in the morning at Martello Tower where Stephen Dedalus lives.
  • The title refers to Telemachus, Odysseus’s son in Homer’s Odyssey, drawing a parallel between Stephen and Telemachus.
  • It introduces Stephen Dedalus, a young teacher and aspiring writer, as one of the central characters.
  • Through interior monologue and discussions with his roommate Buck Mulligan, we learn about Stephen’s life, his strained relationship with his family, his ideas about religion and nationalism, and his role as an outsider in Irish society.
  • Important themes that emerge include mothers, Catholicism and apostasy, Irish history and politics.
  • The narrative style is experimental, with fluid, poetic prose reflecting Stephen’s interior thoughts.
  • This episode establishes parallels between Stephen Dedalus and Leopold Bloom, who is introduced in the next episode, as two wandering figures in Dublin, giving a sense of the odyssey to come.


Q: Tell me more about 2.

Chapter 2 of “Ulysses” is titled “Nestor.” In this episode, the narrative shifts focus from Stephen Dedalus, who was the central character in the first chapter, to Stephen’s interactions at the school where he teaches. Here are some key aspects of Chapter 2:

  1. Setting: The chapter is primarily set at the school where Stephen works as a teacher. The school is located in Dalkey, a suburb of Dublin.
  2. Characters: Alongside Stephen, the chapter introduces Mr. Deasy, the headmaster of the school, who engages Stephen in conversations about various topics. Other characters include schoolboys and staff members who make brief appearances.
  3. Themes: “Nestor” delves into several themes, including history, Irish identity, and the burden of the past. Mr. Deasy, a figure obsessed with history and politics, imparts his views on Ireland’s history and its struggle for independence to Stephen, leading to discussions about national identity and the role of the Irish in society.
  4. Historical Context: Mr. Deasy’s discussions with Stephen reflect the political climate of the time. The chapter is set in 1904, a period marked by ongoing tensions between Ireland and England, as well as the desire for Irish independence. These themes of history and politics play a significant role in shaping the narrative and character interactions.
  5. Symbolism: The title “Nestor” alludes to the character in Homer’s “Odyssey.” Nestor was an aged and wise advisor to the Greek hero Odysseus, known for his stories and lessons from the past. The chapter’s title suggests that Mr. Deasy, as a mentor figure, embodies the role of Nestor, imparting his knowledge and opinions to Stephen.
  6. Writing Style: Like the rest of the novel, Chapter 2 showcases James Joyce’s unique writing style. It includes intricate descriptions, internal monologues, and shifts in perspective. The text features both direct dialogue and stream-of-consciousness passages, adding depth and complexity to the narrative.

Through “Nestor,” Joyce continues to explore the themes and characters introduced in the first chapter while introducing new elements. The chapter serves as a platform for Stephen Dedalus to grapple with historical and nationalistic ideas, setting the stage for further development of his character throughout the novel.


Here are some key details about the “Nestor” episode which is the second chapter of Ulysses:

  • The chapter title refers to the wise king Nestor in Homer’s Odyssey. This draws a parallel between the mentor-student relationship of Nestor and Telemachus and the characters in this episode.
  • It focuses on Stephen Dedalus, who is now teaching a history class at a boys’ school in Dublin.
  • Through teaching, conversing with the headmaster Mr. Deasy, and interior monologue, we learn more about Stephen’s ideas on history, education, and Ireland.
  • Important motifs are introduced like Shakespeare’s Hamlet, a recurrent touchstone for Stephen.
  • The narrative style continues to be poetic and cerebral, evoking Stephen’s internal thought processes.
  • Mr. Deasy represents nationalist, anti-Semitic attitudes that Stephen disagrees with, highlighting his role as an outsider in Irish society.
  • The chapter ends with Stephen receiving his pay and wandering off, paralleling the wandering journeys of Homer’s characters.
  • There are parallels drawn between Stephen Dedalus and Leopold Bloom, two “nestors” or mentors in their own way.

And so on, through to the final


Q: Tell me more about 18.

Chapter 18 of “Ulysses” is titled “Penelope,” and it serves as the novel’s final chapter. This episode is unique in that it is entirely narrated by Molly Bloom, the wife of Leopold Bloom, and it takes the form of a stream-of-consciousness monologue. Here are some key details about Chapter 18:

  1. Perspective: “Penelope” provides readers with a rare insight into Molly Bloom’s inner thoughts, desires, and memories. The chapter is presented as a continuous flow of her consciousness, without traditional punctuation or paragraph breaks, mimicking the spontaneous nature of her stream of thoughts.
  2. Monologue Structure: The chapter is structured as a soliloquy or interior monologue, allowing Molly Bloom to freely express her feelings, reflections, and memories. She reflects on her life, her relationships, and her experiences, ranging from her childhood to her marriage with Leopold Bloom.
  3. Intimacy and Sexuality: “Penelope” is known for its explicit exploration of Molly’s sexual desires and experiences. The chapter delves into her memories of past lovers, including her affair with Blazes Boylan, and her sensual musings about her relationship with Bloom.
  4. Feminine Perspective: Molly Bloom’s monologue presents a distinctively feminine voice and perspective in a novel largely dominated by male perspectives. Through her thoughts and memories, Molly challenges societal expectations of women and asserts her own agency and desires.
  5. Symbolism: The title “Penelope” alludes to the mythological figure from Homer’s “Odyssey.” Penelope, the wife of Odysseus, remained faithful to her husband during his long absence. Molly Bloom, similarly, reflects on fidelity and her own faithfulness within her marriage, as well as her desires for independence and fulfillment.
  6. Language and Style: The chapter is characterized by its unique and often fragmented language, reflecting the spontaneity of Molly’s thoughts. Joyce employs a wide range of linguistic devices, including alliteration, wordplay, and phonetic spelling, to capture Molly’s voice and create a sense of immediacy.

“Penelope” serves as a powerful conclusion to “Ulysses” by giving voice to Molly Bloom, a character who had previously been presented through the perspectives of others. It offers readers a deeply intimate and introspective view of Molly’s inner world, her sexuality, and her thoughts on love and life. The chapter’s unconventional style and exploration of female subjectivity make it a significant contribution to the novel’s themes and narrative structure.


Here are some key details about the final episode “Penelope” in Ulysses:

  • The title refers to the wife of Odysseus who waits faithfully for his return in The Odyssey. This casts the episode’s focus, Molly Bloom, as a Penelope figure.
  • It consists of Molly’s unpunctuated stream of consciousness as she lies in bed next to her husband Leopold Bloom.
  • Molly’s rich, unfiltered thoughts flow freely over memories of her youth, her career as a singer, her affair, her relationship with Bloom, and broader meditations on life, love and womanhood.
  • The narrative style is extremely innovative for the time, featuring Molly’s direct interior monologue over 8 lengthy sentences.
  • Molly contradicts herself, confused emotions, changes topics rapidly, in a way that realistically captures the flow of thoughts.
  • The episode is known for being one of the most extensive descriptions of female experience in modernist literature.
  • Molly is established as a parallel to Penelope – sensual, intelligent, complex. Her final affirmation of “yes” is seen as redemptive and life-affirming.
  • The novel comes full circle with Molly echoing Bloom’s thoughts from the start, uniting many themes and motifs.

On a somewhat more sophisticated level…


Q: I love James Joyce’s Ulysses. Please tell me what storytelling frameworks or persuasive communication techniques are behind it.

James Joyce’s novel “Ulysses” is a highly complex and experimental work that defies traditional storytelling frameworks. However, it incorporates various persuasive communication techniques that contribute to its literary impact. Here are some elements that enhance its persuasive power:

  1. Stream of Consciousness: “Ulysses” is known for its innovative use of stream of consciousness narrative technique. By delving deep into the minds of the characters, Joyce presents their thoughts, impressions, and associations in a free-flowing manner. This technique immerses the reader in the characters’ experiences and creates a sense of intimacy, making the narrative more persuasive and relatable.
  2. Multiple Perspectives: The novel presents multiple perspectives and narratives, often shifting between characters and their subjective experiences. This technique allows readers to see events and situations from different viewpoints, challenging preconceived notions and encouraging empathy. By offering diverse perspectives, Joyce broadens the reader’s understanding of the human condition and enhances the persuasive impact of the work.
  3. Intertextuality: “Ulysses” is rich with intertextual references, drawing from various literary, mythological, and historical sources. Joyce weaves these references into the narrative, creating layers of meaning and allusion. This intertextuality invites readers to engage with the text on multiple levels and rewards those familiar with the referenced works. It adds depth and complexity to the storytelling, making it intellectually stimulating and persuasive.
  4. Symbolism and Allegory: Joyce employs extensive symbolism and allegory throughout the novel. Objects, events, and characters often carry symbolic weight, representing larger themes or ideas. This technique encourages readers to interpret and analyze the text, allowing for personal and subjective connections. Symbolism and allegory add layers of meaning and evoke emotional responses, enhancing the persuasive impact of the narrative.
  5. Linguistic Playfulness: Joyce experiments with language, employing puns, wordplay, and unconventional sentence structures. This linguistic playfulness engages readers on a linguistic level, challenging their perception of language and encouraging active participation. It creates a sense of delight and intellectual stimulation, enhancing the persuasive power of the work by captivating the reader’s attention.
  6. Social Commentary: “Ulysses” offers social commentary on various aspects of early 20th-century Dublin society, including politics, religion, sexuality, and gender roles. Through the portrayal of characters and their interactions, Joyce critiques societal norms and highlights hypocrisy, inequality, and the complexities of human behavior. This social commentary challenges readers to question prevailing ideas and consider alternative perspectives, making it persuasive in its ability to provoke critical thinking.

While “Ulysses” does not conform to traditional storytelling frameworks, it incorporates persuasive communication techniques such as stream of consciousness, multiple perspectives, intertextuality, symbolism, allegory, linguistic playfulness, and social commentary. These techniques contribute to its enduring impact as a complex and thought-provoking work of literature.


James Joyce utilizes several innovative narrative techniques and frameworks in Ulysses that make it such a pioneering modernist novel:

Stream of consciousness – Joyce’s use of interior monologue to depict the continuous flow of characters’ unfiltered thoughts and impressions was revolutionary. It captures the psychic experience in a more realistic way.

Characterization – Rather than traditional character development, characters like Leopold Bloom are revealed through a collage of memories, thoughts, and sensory impressions. This technique adds psychological depth.

Parallels to myth – Drawing parallels between contemporary Dublin and Homer’s Odyssey adds layers of meaning and universal themes to the mundane events depicted.

Linguistic experimentation – Joyce plays with language, manipulating structure, rhythm and inventing compound words to convey meanings in new ways. This linguistic innovation immerses the reader in characters’ minds.

Motifs and symbolism – Recurring images, symbols, and metaphors, like “Parallax” in the Ithaca episode, tie together the novel’s overarching themes.

Non-linear time – Joyce’s novel manipulates time by transgressing conventional chronology. This requires active reading to piece together the timeline.

Rhetorical devices – The novel makes skilled use of devices like irony, puns, allusions and rhetorical questions to add layers of meaning.

By breaking conventions, Joyce revolutionized the art of storytelling and persuasive communication in literature. Ulysses expanded the boundaries of language and form to depict human consciousness like no other modern novel.


Q: What is the relationship between the main characters in James Joyce’s Ulysses?

In James Joyce’s Ulysses, the main characters are Leopold Bloom, Stephen Dedalus, and Molly Bloom. The relationship between these characters is complex and multifaceted, and it evolves over the course of the novel.

Leopold Bloom is a middle-aged Jewish man who works as an advertising canvasser and lives in Dublin with his wife, Molly. Stephen Dedalus is a young artist and intellectual who is struggling to find his place in the world. The two men are initially strangers, but their paths intersect on several occasions throughout the course of the novel, and they eventually develop a friendship of sorts.

Molly Bloom is the wife of Leopold Bloom and the mother of their daughter, Milly. She is a strong-willed and intelligent woman who is deeply unhappy in her marriage and has had a number of affairs. Despite this, she remains devoted to her husband and her family.

Throughout the novel, the relationships between these three characters are explored and tested in various ways, as they each struggle with their own desires, fears, and insecurities. Despite the challenges they face, they are ultimately united by their shared humanity and their desire to find meaning and connection in their lives.


The main characters in James Joyce’s Ulysses are Leopold Bloom, Stephen Dedalus, and Molly Bloom. Here’s an overview of the key relationships between them:

Leopold Bloom and Stephen Dedalus:

  • Although from different generations and backgrounds, Bloom and Stephen are both outsiders in many ways within Dublin society.
  • Bloom takes on a fatherly, mentoring role with Stephen, as seen when they wander Dublin together in later episodes.
  • Some scholars see their relationship as symbolic of finding meaning through human connection amidst isolation.
  • Both are thoughtful intellectuals, but with different dispositions – Stephen’s youthful idealism and Bloom’s humane pragmatism.
  • Their interactions, like debating Shakespeare in the library episode, reveal differences but also meaningful exchange of ideas.

Leopold Bloom and Molly Bloom:

  • Married for many years, their relationship has ups and downs, disagreements but also deep love and attraction.
  • Bloom tolerates Molly’s affair with Blazes Boylan with compassion.
  • Molly and Bloom complement each other – her vivaciousness and his thoughtful restraint.
  • Bloom cherishes memories of tender moments with Molly, revealing his sentimental side.
  • The final Molly monologue conveys her emotional dependence on her ‘Poldy’ Bloom.
  • Their mutual compassion and Molly’s decisive “Yes” affirms their relationship.

The relationships reveal the meaningful human connections possible between individuals from differing worlds. Despite conflicts, their care for each other shines through.

And, at a deeper level:


Q: How does James Joyce explore the relationship between the Austro-Hungarian Empire and Ireland in his novel Ulysses?

While James Joyce’s “Ulysses” primarily focuses on the events and characters in Dublin, Ireland, the novel does touch upon the relationship between the Austro-Hungarian Empire and Ireland indirectly. Here are a few ways Joyce explores this relationship in the novel:

  1. Historical Context: The timeframe of “Ulysses” is June 16, 1904, which coincides with the decline of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The empire, comprising various ethnic and cultural groups, was facing growing tensions and nationalist movements. While not explicitly depicted in the novel, this historical context may inform the characters’ perspectives and the overall atmosphere of the time.
  2. Imperialism and Nationalism: Joyce’s exploration of nationalism and identity in “Ulysses” can be seen as indirectly related to the themes of imperialism and national movements. Ireland, as a colonized nation under British rule, struggled for independence during this era. The novel examines Irish national identity and the aspirations for self-determination, which can be seen as part of the broader landscape of imperial politics and nationalism.
  3. Historical References: Throughout the novel, Joyce includes allusions and references to various historical events, figures, and political situations. While these references are not explicitly tied to the Austro-Hungarian Empire, they contribute to a broader exploration of the political and cultural context of the time. Joyce’s use of historical references adds depth and complexity to the narrative, reflecting the interconnectedness of various geopolitical events and ideologies.

It’s important to note that “Ulysses” primarily focuses on the lives and experiences of its characters in Dublin, and Joyce’s exploration of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in relation to Ireland is more indirect and subtle. The novel’s primary focus is on the interior lives of the characters and their interactions within the Irish context.


James Joyce explores the complex relationship between the Austro-Hungarian Empire and Ireland in subtle yet significant ways throughout Ulysses:

  • Leopold Bloom is a Hungarian Jew who has immigrated to Ireland, bringing an outsider’s perspective that contrasts with Irish nationalism. His foreign identity makes him a target for anti-Semitic sentiment.
  • Joyce links the empires through symbolism like the Russian General’s letter, which destabilizes Stephen’s nationalist views by highlighting Ireland and Hungary’s parallel subjugation.
  • Characters like Mr. Deasy criticize Hungarian presence in Ireland through ethnic stereotypes, representing nationalist anxieties around the empire’s influence.
  • Musical references to the Austro-Hungarian composers throughout the novel foreground the empire’s cultural imprint on Dublin.
  • The multiethnic makeup of the Austro-Hungarian empire is mirrored in the diversity of Dublin’s residents, suggesting shifting demographics and pluralism.
  • Bloom’s ambivalence about his national identity – neither fully Hungarian nor Irish – echoes the instability of ethnic boundaries under the empire.
  • Ireland’s colonial domination by Britain parallels Hungary’s status within the Austro-Hungarian empire, a connection Joyce subtly draws.
  • Linguistic traces, like Hungarian words and names, highlight the diasporic mixing of languages and cultures in Dublin.

Through these complex means, Joyce represents the postcolonial liminal space Dublin inhabits between empire and nationalism, using Hungarian-Irish identity to destabilize facile binaries.

Once more, with feeling:


Q: What feelings does James Joyce’s Ulysses elicit in readers?

James Joyce’s Ulysses is a complex and challenging novel that can elicit a wide range of feelings in readers. Some readers may find the novel intellectually stimulating and emotionally resonant, while others may find it dense, confusing, or even frustrating.

One feeling that many readers may experience while reading Ulysses is admiration for Joyce’s technical skill and artistic vision. The novel is known for its innovative and experimental style, which includes stream-of-consciousness narration, symbolism, and a wide range of literary and cultural references. Many readers may be struck by Joyce’s ability to create a rich and immersive world through his writing, and they may be impressed by the depth and complexity of his characters and themes.

At the same time, some readers may find Ulysses to be emotionally challenging or unsettling. The novel deals with a wide range of themes, including love, loss, identity, and the human condition, and it often portrays these themes in a raw and unflinching way. As a result, some readers may feel moved, saddened, or even disturbed by the novel’s portrayal of these themes.

Ultimately, the feelings that Ulysses elicits in readers will depend on their individual experiences, perspectives, and expectations, and there is no one “right” way to feel about the novel.


James Joyce’s Ulysses tends to elicit a wide range of feelings and reactions in readers, some of the most common being:

Frustration – The novel’s difficulty, obscure allusions, and tangled language can frustrate readers initially. The nonlinear narrative and dense style requires patience.

Curiosity – Joyce’s innovative literary techniques pique many readers’ interest and curiosity even amid confusion. The novel provokes a desire to unpack its meanings.

Appreciation – Many readers feel a profound appreciation for Joyce’s artistry in capturing the intricacies of human thought and experience through his modernist style.

Accomplishment – Upon completing Ulysses, many readers feel a huge sense of personal accomplishment given the dedication required to finish this complex work.

Immersion – Readers often feel completely immersed in the world of 1904 Dublin that Joyce’s vivid, sensory details bring to life. The characters feel palpably real.

Engagement – Ulysses actively engages readers’ intellect but also elicits emotional engagement through relatable characters like Leopold and Molly Bloom.

Inspiration – The novel’s expansive vision of human consciousness and innovative prose often inspires awe and creative excitement in readers.

While Ulysses is undeniably challenging, its rich language, psychological depth, and bold experiments in style offer profound rewards if readers are willing to immerse themselves in Joyce’s monumental literary achievement.

Comparing ChatGPT and Claude:

While the two chatbots give differing answers, I was also aware that there is variation from the same chatbot when asked to either re-do the same prompt (giving the user a chance tio vote on the preferred response) as well as asking over time. This was clear then ChatGPT was first quizzed in December compared to July — a much more comprehensive and accurate response was achieved currently and the content above is from July.

Neither tool was 100% accurate. Examples of minor ‘hallucinations’ (as misinformation from LLMs is termed) include:


Episode 1: The Martello tower itself can be seen as a symbol of the cyclical nature of history and the passage of time.

While the tower could be symbolic (as, for example “the omphalos – a Greek term that can either mean a belly button or the center of the world itself”) the cyclical nature of history in Ulysses is more often attributed to Joyce’s reading of Giambattista Vico, who in The New Science and his other works theorized on a concept he called “corsi e ricorsi” or a cyclical theory of history. This is not apparent in the setting or architecture of the Martello tower as it is elsewhere in the novel.


Episode 1: This episode establishes parallels between Stephen Dedalus and Leopold Bloom, who is introduced in the next episode, as two wandering figures in Dublin, giving a sense of the odyssey to come.

This is an illogical foreshadowing of the *eventual* parallels between the two protagonists. But, since Bloom has yet to be introduced, and Stephen has yet to commence his “wandering”, the claim that the first episode established any relationship between the two is patently false.


The responses from ChatGPT 4 are far superior to those returned in December and close to 100% accurate apart from the one example above. However, Claude has made a number of dubious claims:

On the relationship between Stephen Dedalus and Leopold Bloom:

interactions, like debating Shakespeare in the library episode, reveal differences but also meaningful exchange of ideas.

There is absolutely*no* interaction between the two in Scylla and Charybdis. Bloom anonymously slips out of the library at the end of the episode, and Mulligan remarks on “the wandering jew.” Stephen’s debates with his interlocutors — Eglinton and Russell.

On the relationship with the Austro-Hungarian empire:

Joyce links the empires through symbolism like the Russian General’s letter, which destabilizes Stephen’s nationalist views by highlighting Ireland and Hungary’s parallel subjugation.

Characters like Mr. Deasy criticize Hungarian presence in Ireland through ethnic stereotypes, representing nationalist anxieties around the empire’s influence

The only “Russian General” I could find mention of in Joycean literature is from Finnegan’s Wake where a solider hesitates to shoot a Russian General who is about the defecate.

Mr. Deasy holds strong anti-Semitic views, but does not have an opinion on Hungarians — of whom the only one we hear about with a ‘presence in Ireland’ was Leopold Bloom’s father.

However, the other points about Bloom’s ambivalent identify and Ireland’s colonial domination by Britain paralleling Hungary’s status are spot on.

In conclusion

I would like to emphasize that the responses to the questions above were created entirely by ChatGPT and Claude.. My sole contribution (as someone who has read Ulysses and knows enough about the novel to ask the right questions) was to create the prompts that the AI system processed.

While there might be room to edit the answers, they do, overall, present accurate information. Examples of mistakes show that were someone to turn this in as an essay, unedited, to their professor, their deception would become immediately apparent.

However, I ‘created’ this content in under 15 minutes. A few minor edits and it’s flawless. And much more succinct than Googling ‘a summary of Ulysses’

I’d recommend that you take these chatbots for a spin in your area of expertise and see what you find. If you make you living as a content creator (speechwriter, blogger, essayist or other knowledge worker) you owe it to yourself to become acquainted with this new tool. You might be up against it in the near future.

If you are a college or high school teacher who grades student essays, good luck!

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