Archetypal Interpretation of Ulysses

Abstract: Ulysses, one of James Joyce's highest achievements in his literary career, is universally acknowledged as one of the greatest literary works in the twentieth century. For years since its birth, Ulysses has been researched from various theoretical perspectives of feminism, modernism, psychology, sociology etc. Through a detailed study, the frequent utilization of archetypes serves to make Ulysses a classic. One can not comprehend Ulysses without the understanding of the archetypes in the novel. This thesis, on the basis of archetypal theory, focuses on the interpretation of various types of archetypes in Ulysses.The thesis is composed of three chapters, respectively involving archetypal structure, archetypal motifs, and archetypal characters in Ulysses.Chapter 1 is devoted to archetypal structures, of which two types, namely, mythic structure and circular structure will be analyzed. Joyce intentionally adopts the frame and structure corresponding to Odyssey and meanwhile paradoxically, the linear voyage in Odyssey becomes in Ulysses the circular return. Not only Bloom but also Molly is experiencing the spiritual circular structure, which, finally, leads to harmony and wholeness. Chapter 2 discusses such common archetypal motifs as father and son, quest and home-coming, and death and rebirth which can be traced in Ulysses. On the spiritual quest journey, Bloom finds out his spiritual son; Stephen encounters his spiritual father, and meanwhile accomplishes his rebirth after his symbolic death. The harmonious reunion of Bloom and Stephen indicates the return to human nature finally.Chapter 3 focuses on archetypal analysis on some main characters—Bloom, Stephen, Molly and little Rudy. Through detailed study, the delicate and profound relationships among characters will be demonstrated, helping to add to the readability and profundity of the novel.The conclusion of the thesis will probe further into the academic profundity and the consequent practical significance of interpreting Ulysses from the perspective of archetypal criticism. The archetypal employment in Ulysses transcends the limitations of time and space, which, in a great sense, enhances the everlasting artistic charm and provides larger room for readers to broaden their imaginations…
Key words: Ulysses; archetypal structures; archetypal motifs; archetypal characters

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