Let me call the roll briefly, beginning with those who in 1904 - the Abbey Theatre was to open in December of that year - were already making the English-speaking world aware of the resurgence of Irish literature. W.B. Yeats, J. M. Synge, Lady Gregory, George Moore (and his cousin and collaborator Edward Martyn), Douglas Hyde and Padraic Colum, besides being freely alluded to, are sometimes quoted and/or parodied as well. Lesser figures belonging to their movement are also named: James Sullivan Starkey (Seumas OSullivian [sic]), poet and bibliophile; A.E.s co-worker Susan Mitchell; Fred Ryan, a journalist who wrote one play; George Roberts, better  known as a publisher than as a poet; and the mysterious Piper [presum. W. J. Stanton Pyper, a friend of John Eglinton]. Participants in the informal symposium on Shakespeare, besides Joyce himself as Stephen and the poet Oliver Gogarty as Buck Mulligan, include the N.L.I. Librarian, T. W. Lyster; his Assistant Librarian, W. K. Magee; and the Keeper of Irish Manuscripts, R. I. Best. Magee was known as an essayist and poet under the pseudonym of John Eglinton; his equally pseudonymous friend George Russell (A.E.) - poet, playwright, editor, theosophist and organiser of agricultural co-operatives - also takes part. Among those engaged in the revival of the Irish language along with Hyde or in the preservation of its early texts along with Best, the following are mentioned: T. ONeill Russell; Dr. George Sigerson, translator as well as eminent physician; and Father Patrick Dinneen (misspelt Dineen), editor and lexicographer. Oscar Wilde was already dead in 1904, but Bernard Shaw, Frank Harris, and Professor Edward Dowden of Trinity College, Dublin, earn mention as Irishmen who, like Moore and Wilde, had already won fame in the international literary world before the new Irish movement began to draw attention. Thomas Caulfield Irwin, an Irish imitator of Tennyson, had died in 1892, and therefore seems too old to have been a chela or disciple of A.E. James Stephens, later to become an important figure in the Literary Revival, had not yet begun writing his clever sketches ( Ulysses, Random House 1961, p.192), let alone works of more weight. His earliest publications, in Sinn Féin, date from 1907. [Page note: The attribution of The Greatest Miracle, signed S in the United Irishman, 16 Sept. 1905, to Stephens is a canard: Seumas OSullivan wrote it and republished it in Essays and Recollections (Dublin: Talbot Press, 1944), pp. 141-43.] Louis H. Victory, whose name is as authentic as that of his fellow poet Lizzie Twigg in an earlier episode (U165), seems to have been included only as an example of the poetasters who haunt the fringes of every new movement. Finally, Stephen MacKenna, at this time a foreign correspondent, would eventually win a different kind of fame as author of the modern translation of Plotinus Enneads so much admired by Yeats. This list of Irish men and women of letters, nominated by a grudging contemporary, seems from the vantage point of 1982 entirely worthy of comparison with a team of two dozen writers similarly picked from any other country in the world circa 1904.
Though they may appear rambling enough at first, the thirty-five pages of “Scylla and Charybdis” prove on closer examination to be among the most tightly packed with meaning in the whole of prose literature. They present several of the most persistent themes in  Ulysses almost simultaneously, so closely woven together that the reader is not allowed to lose sight of any for more than a few moments at a time. The most important theme -so important that it might be called the key to Ulysses - is the relationship between art and life, more specifically between Shakespeares art and Shakespeares life. Stephen Dedalus argues that these were very intimately related indeed. What gives his exposition an intensity rarely to be found in academic discourse is his creators secret purpose: Joyce is giving himself away. This man who was so reserved that he wished all his men friends to address him as Joyce rather than Jim or James, and who so rarely showed his feelings in private life except in those extraordinary love letters to Nora Barnacle, is pressing upon the readers of Ulysses clues to his own mystery. Those who accuse Richard Ellmann of the biographical fallacy because he interprets Joyces works in terms of his life deliberately ignore the obvious fact that Joyce makes Stephen joyfully embrace the alleged fallacy in his account of Shakespeare. It is true that when John Eglinton asks, Do you believe your own theory? Stephen promptly (too promptly, perhaps?) answers No (U213-14). But in my case Eglinton is referring specifically to what he calls a French triangle (U213), the theory that Shakespeare was cuckolded by one of his brothers. Nobody who takes part in the discussion, not even A.E. (But this prying into the family life of a great man, Russell began impatiently [1891), seriously questions the existence of a relationship between a writers life and his work. The novelty of Stephens analysis of Hamlet lies in his identification of Shakespeare not with Prince Hamlet but with Hamlets father, the ghost.
My reading of this passage is that Joyce is pressing us to give up the facile identification of himself with Stephen Dedalus that he must have known most readers of A Portrait would make; instead, we are to see Bloom as a truer projection of the mature Joyce. 
This awareness of Blooms similarities to Joyce has become a commonplace of criticism since the publication of Ellmanns James Joyce in 1959 and subsequently of the second and third volumes of the Letters, which included most of the Joyce-Nora correspondence. What I am concerned to stress is that Joyce, using the Shakespeare analogy, had himself urged this view upon his readers, some of whom at least must have been able to take a hint. The earliest publication to link Joyce with Bloom that I know of is a 1948 article in French by Michel Butor [Petit croisière prérliminaire á une reconnaissance de larchipel Joyce, in Répertoire: Etudes et conférences 1948-59, Editions de Minuit 1960, p.205], but I remember startling a successor of Edward Dowden, the late Professor H. O. White, by expressing such a view as a graduate student in the early 1940s. I also remember expounding “Scylla and Charybdis” along these lines in a City College of New York classroom before 1959. I dont claim any special clairvoyance: I was simply discovering what Joyce had put there for his readers to find.
I have run ahead of myself, skipping over a number of necessary steps in the argument: before identifying Joyce with Bloom, one ought first to present the reasons for identifying Joyce with Shakespeare. An untutored but intuitive reader might in fact snatch up the very first hint. On the second page of the episode Joyce makes John Eglinton say, Our young Irish bards ... have yet to create a figure which the world will set beside Saxon Shakespeares Hamlet (U185). It was the kind of remark Eglinton was likely to make, yet I think the words are entirely Joyces own. Whereas his fellow Irishman Bernard Shaw constantly and openly invited comparison with Shakespeare, Joyce in his own secretive way is here issuing a similar challenge: eighteen years after 1904, he feels confident that he has created such a character - not Stephen Dedalus in his Hamlet hat but Leopold Bloom. Once he has claimed equality with Shakespeare, it is but a short step to claiming identity.
Having repeated in A Portrait of the Artist As a Young Man, with Stephen as mouthpiece, Flauberts axiom that the artist must not appear in his work any more than God does in his Creation, Joyce had come to realise that in the last analysis he had no subject matter other than his own consciousness. One may suspect also that his reticence was the obverse side of an unconscious or even conscious impulse toward exhibitionism. In a letter to his brother Stanislaus, he had reproached Oscar Wilde for revealing so little of himself in The Picture of Dorian Gray [Letters, ed. Ellmann, 1966, II, p.205]; almost certainly he did not then know Wildes The Portrait of Mr. W. H., mentioned with such approval by Mr. Best in “Scylla and Charybdis” (198). There, Wilde did reveal  his homosexuality by attributing it to Shakespeare, just as Joyce reveals his own fear/desire of being made a cuckold by attributing it to Shakespeare and to Bloom.
In one of his references to Shakespeares supposed obsession with wifely infidelity, Stephen casts a novel light on the difficulty of finding an author in his work: He [Shakespeare] goes back, weary the creation he has piled up to hide him from himself, an old dog king an old sore (U197). In other words, if the author does not appear in his work, if God is not found in his Creation, that does not mean that he is not there: he is not absent from but hidden by his work. Joyce is inviting his readers to an odd game of hide-and-seek, where we will search for him until he catches us.
Once we have accepted the analogy between Joyce and Shakespeare, we can hardly refuse to accept the analogy between Shakespeare and God; from this there follows logically the analogy between Joyce and God. John Eglingon reminds his hearers of Alexandre Dumas pères remark: After God Shakespeare has created most (U212). Later, Stephen stands this idea on its head by comparing God unfavourably with Shakespeare, calling Him the playwright who wrote the folio of this world and wrote it badly (He gave light first and the sun two days later) (U213). This witticism is a picturesque way of recapturing our attention for another major theme of “Scylla and Charybdis” - the analogy between divine creation and artistic creation. The words create and creation figure frequently in the episode, though Joyce in his letters seems very sceptical about applying them to literary work and denies that he himself has any inventive powers at all. In the words of the Apostles Creed, God the Father Almighty is identified as Maker of Heaven and Earth: similarly, in “Scylla and Charybdis” the creation theme is intertwined with that of the relationship between father and son - not merely God the Father and God the Son but all human fathers and sons.
We should pause here to consider why the nature of Jesus relationship to God the Father is so frequently discussed throughout Ulysses. Is it because Joyce saw himself as a betrayed and suffering Christ figure? Stephen is certainly prone to identify himself with Christ, both in Ulysses and A Portrait, but I think the chief reason lies elsewhere: after all, the primary model for Ulysses is the Odyssey, not the Gospels. Now, Telemachus is unequivocally presented as Ulysses son: to suggest any other paternity would have desecrated the image of the ever-faithful Penelope. But Stephen,  the Telemachus figure in Ulysses, is most emphatically not Blooms physical son: an entire novel, already several years in print, stands there to prove it. Joyce could of course have abandoned the Stephen Dedalus of A Portrait and invented a new character - perhaps only Stephen under another name - to be Blooms long-lost son in Ulysses. But his temperament, his need to reveal himself, did not allow this. Instead, he must look for a way to suggest that Stephen both was and was not Blooms son: one must admit that, given his Catholic upbringing, he did not have to look very far. Jesus both was and was not Josephs son, as in a sense he both was and was not the son of God. For Joseph, read Simon Dedalus, and for God the Father, read Bloom.
It is perhaps out of character that Stephen, who professes to have rejected the Church, should talk and meditate at such lengths in Ulysses about the Sonship of Jesus, but this habit of his helps the reader to keep in mind that there are sons and Sons:
Stephens obsession with the nature of Christs Sonship has led him to examine the views of heretics on the subject. One of these, mentioned in “Scylla and Charybdis”, is Sabellius, the African, subtlest heresiarch of all the beasts of the field, [who] held that the Father was Himself His Own Son (U208). We must not ignore Sabellius - although Stephen tells us that Thomas Aquinas refuted him (U208) - since his doctrine suggests the possibility that Bloom and Stephen are one and the same person. As indeed they are, for they are both aspects of Joyce.
Bloom resembles Stephens portrait of Shakespeare much more closely than Stephen himself does, for he has a dead son, a beloved daughter, and an unfaithful wife. (Of these, Joyce in 1922 was only sure that he had a beloved daughter.) Also, Bloom is a Jew by race though not by religion; Stephen at one point tries to prove that Shakespeare was a Jew. Finally, Bloom is a ghost: at least, he haunts the episode like one, appearing first as a visiting card offered by an attendant, then as A patient silhouette ... listening to the voluble  Lyster (U200). A moment later, Buck Mulligan remembers having just seen him over in the museum when I went to hail the foamborn Aphrodite. … His pale Galilean eyes were upon her mesial groove. Venus Kallipyge. O, the thunder of those loins! (201). He makes another silent appearance at the end of the episode.
After Stephen has presented his view of Hamlet at some length, and after the traditional view that Shakespeare is Prince Hamlet has been maintained against him, John Eglinton offers to resolve the conflict with a synthesis:
Having pursued the analogical method thus far, I seem obliged to accept Stephens change of front, which implies that Joyce is not only Bloom and Stephen, but everybody else in Ulysses as well, not excluding Pisser Burke. This position I find untenable, however, and in fact no one in his right mind would claim that Joyces life experience or his personality exactly parallels that of Leopold Bloom. What we now know, from the letters and from Ellmanns biography, is that Joyces paternal and conjugal feelings, not to mention his sexual temperament, were in many ways similar to Blooms. In the later episodes of Ulysses he vicariously reveals that temperament, having given his readers, in “Scylla and Charybdis”, a strong hint about how to interpret them.
The Aristotle-Socrates-Plato analogy seems baffling, however, until the key to it is found in Francis Bacons The Wisdom of the Ancients . Joyce actually owned two copies of a cheap reprint of this English translation of a Latin work. [Richard Ellmann, The Consciousness of Joyce, OUP, 1977, p.99]. Bacon, like Joyce, sought and found modern applications for classical myths: in his chapter on Scylla and Charybdis, he interpreted them as the Rocks of Distinctions and the Gulfs of Universalities; which two are famous for the Wrack both of Wits and Arts. [The Essays … with the Wisdom of the Ancients, ed. S. W. Singer, Bell & Daldy 1857, p.340.] Distinctions or definitions suggest Aristotle at once, while Universalities or universals suggest Plato. Stephen mentally outlines his own Aristotelianism, in opposition to the Neo-Platonism of A.E. and the theosophists, as follows:
A.E. and his disciples are associated with images of the sea at flood-tide and of whirling. At one point, while A.E. is speaking of King Lear, Stephen mentally quotes, or rather misquotes [Weldon Thornton, Allusions in Ulysses, N. Carolina UP 1968, p.164.] from A.E.s Deirdre :
A little later, he thinks again of A.E.:
If Stephen represents Aristotle, and A.E. Plato, who then stands for Socrates? 1 think we must conclude that John Eglinton does, although at one point he speaks up on Platos behalf, scornfully calling Aristotle a model schoolboy. It is Eglinton who consistently uses the Socratic method, addressing his most searching questions to Stephen, and it is he who best fits Joyces conception of Socrates position by proclaiming that the truth is midway.
Eglinton, in discussing Shakespeares relationship with Ann Hathaway, draws a parallel between Shakespeare and Socrates:
Joyce himself used the word dialectic in his schema to describe the technique of the episode. If we omit those passages of “Scylla and Charybdis” that take place in Stephens mind, the rest becomes a recognisable twentieth-century imitation of a Platonic dialogue. Just in case we havent noticed this fact for ourselves, Joyce gives our defective intelligences a pretty firm nudge:
Best is speaking to Stephen about his theory, but Joyce is telling us what he himself has been up to, and at the same time, perhaps, issuing a challenge to Wilde, whose brilliant dialogues in TheCritic as Artist and The Decay of Lying are hard to rival. I think we have to acknowledge that Joyce surpasses Wilde, if only because he introduces so many speakers, where Wilde limits himself to only two. Joyce refers, as far as I can see, to only one dialogue of Platos, the Phaedo, which he mentions twice. First, disparagingly:
Later, Stephen thinks of Phedos toyable fair hair (U215), alluding  to a passage in which Phaedo describes how Socrates laid his hand on my head and gathered up the curls on my neck. [Last Days of Socrates, trans. Hugh Tredennick, Penguin 1969, p.143].
References to homosexuality occur frequently in the episode. Is Joyce suggesting that he himself, like Shakespeare and Socrates, has homosexual leanings? Perhaps, but when one is writing about Shakespeare and the Sonnets and using a format borrowed from Plato, mention of homosexuality hardly seems gratuitous. More arbitrary is Buck Mulligans insistence that Bloom has a homosexual desire for Stephen:
Bloom, we may suppose, is looking at Stephen with a concern that, far from being lustful, is quasi-paternal.
If Joyce is consciously imitating a particular dialogue of Platos, I think we can rule out the Phaedo at once. The conversation in the library office has little or nothing to do with survival after death. Mulligans uproarious arrival and subsequent bawdy interruptions give us the correct clue, I believe: Joyces model is the Symposium. Mulligan plays the role of Alcibiades, and to some extent that of Aristophanes as well. It cannot be denied that the nature of love, which is the overriding theme of Platos dialogue, also has great importance in “Scylla and Charybdis”. Almost every conceivable variety of love is mentioned in the episode, usually in connection with Shakespeare, beginning with his dilemma between conjugal love and its chaste delights and scortatory love and its foul pleasures (U201). Stephen mentally recalls some of his own foul pleasures with whores in Paris: Encore vingt sous. Nous ferons de petites cochonneries. Minette? Tu veux? (U201) Shakespeares supposed homosexuality is dealt with at length: As an Englishman, you mean, John sturdy Eglinton put in, he loved a lord (U202). Incest is described, in the words of St. Thomas Aquinas, as an avarice of the emotions (U205). This leads on quite logically to a more careful examination of the nature of love between parent and child:
Amor matris means both the love of the child for the mother and that of the mother for the child. The one impossible perversion, according to Stephen, is incest between father and son:
What a catalogue that is of the diversity of sexual self-expression! Despite all Shakespeares amatory vicissitudes and his supposed fear of being cuckolded by his brothers, Stephen imagines a reconciliation between him and Ann Hathaway that is comfortingly normal and domestic: it takes place at the birth of his daughters child (195). Joyces dialogue on love does not make as deep a philosophical penetration into the subject as Platos, being more concerned with citing diverse examples of the passion than with analysing its nature. Nevertheless, both discussions end inconclusively, because of the disruptive influence of Mulligan in “Scylla and Charybdis” and of Alcibiades in the Symposium.
Joyce uses the phrases Holy Breath and Name Ineffable (U185). In the Circe episode A.E. appears as Mananaan Mac Lir, the Celtic sea god, uttering the mysterious syllables Hek! Wal! Ak! Lub! Mor! Ma! (U510). Joyce found these in the chapter Ancient Intuitions of The Candle of Vision : A.E. claimed to have discovered intuitively that they were part of the universal primeval language of mankind. [Hek is an error for Hel] When Stephen quotes A.E.s poetry, one wonders if Joyce has deliberately chosen two very inept lines:
Weak as they are, they have more rhythm than those quoted from A.E.s fellow theosophist, Louis H. Victory:
When Lyster remarks that Mr Russell, rumour has it, is gathering together a sheaf of our younger poets verses (U192), he - or rather Joyce - is guilty of an anachronism. New Songs: A Lyric Selection Made by A.E. from Poems by Padraic Colum, Eva Gore-Booth, Thomas Keohler, Susan Mitchell, Seumas OSullivan, George Roberts, and Ella Young, had been published in March 1904, three months before Bloomsday. Stephen listens with rapt attention to the chatter about this book, which mentions Young Colum and Starkey. George Roberts, and Miss Mitchells joke about Moore and Martyn (U192). Was Joyce piqued at not being included in New Songs, although A.E. had accepted three of his short stories for the Irish Homestead ? If so, why was he not equally hostile to John Eglinton, who had accepted a poem of his for Dana but rejected an essay entitled A Portrait of the Artist as incomprehensible. [Richard M. Kain & Robert E. Scholes, The First Version of Joyces Portrait, in Yale Review, 49, Spring 1960, p.143.] Joyces essay was in fact no more cryptic than Eglintons maiden venture, Two Essays on the Remnant, and may have been modelled on it.
In order to understand the respect with which Stephen treats John Eglinton throughout the episode - a respect that Joyce appears to share, despite Mulligans innuendoes - one has to look beyond 1904 to a book Eglinton published in 1917, Anglo-Irish Essays. Among the essays and reviews he then reprinted was Irish Books, first published in the Irish Review, 1911. Its chief burden  was that there were no Irish books, that the Revival or Renaissance or whatever one liked to call it was all shadow and no substance. In 1917 he added an apologetic postscript to this outburst of spleen:
The shadows of the dead young men who had fought in the Easter Rising of 1916 fall across this paragraph, but it must have given great pleasure to Joyce, who was not accustomed to such praise from his countrymen, very few of whom had yet bothered to read Dubliners or A Portrait; Eglinton seems to have read both.
Many readers of Ulysses may feel that even though Eglinton is paid the compliment of being equated with Socrates and treated as a foeman worthy of Stephens dagger definitions, he still receives pretty severe handling: the constant harping on his bachelorhood and Protestantism becomes especially tiresome. Nevertheless, Joyce has paid him a silent compliment that carries more weight than the overt ones: he has borrowed from him, as he did from A.E., but without making his creditor look ridiculous. Part of what Stephen overhears when the younger poets are being discussed can be traced back to the last paragraph of the Irish Books essay and to the last sentence of its postscript:
John Eglinton had written: 
It was only after the fact that Eglinton drew the parallel between Moores Hail and Farewell (1911-14) and Don Quixote, but Joyce has him anticipate it in 1904.
Eglintons mention of Moore draws our attention to an important sub-text of “Scylla and Charybdis”, and indeed of Ulysses as a whole. With judicious excisions the scene in the Library might be made to resemble rnany dialogue passages in Hail and Farewell, especially those where Moore has A.E. and/or John Eglinton as interlocutors. Does anybody imagine that Ulysses would have taken exactly the form it did had Moore never published Hail and Farewell or had he been hampered in doing so by libel actions? Joyce would at the very least have been much more circumspect in using the names of living people if Moore had not brought off his tour de force.
It is tempting to view Ulysses as an Irish version of Don Quixote, with Stephen as the Don and Bloom as Sancho, but one is left asking And his Dulcinea? Besides, Bloom is really a mixture of Quixote and Panza - without any illusions about his Dulcinea. When Joyce wrote Our national epic has yet to be written, he undoubtedly added mentally and I am now writing it. Eglintons idea for a comic romance was a good one, but Joyces for a comic epic was even better.
Here, then, is what Ulysses in the last analysis is about: a man meeting himself. When Stephen and Bloom well and truly meet in the Eumaeus and Ithaca episodes, nothing very much happens. There is no great recognition scene like that in the Odyssey where Ulysses and Telemachus throw themselves into each others arms and weep floods of tears. Nor is there any great change in Stephen or Bloom as a result of their hours together: they talk, but mostly at cross purposes; they part without any certainty that they will meet again. In the symbolism of Ithaca they are comets whose paths cross at the bidding of forces beyond their control. Yet Stephen, unaware, has found in the world without as actual what was in his world within as possible. He has had a glimpse of what he may be like at Blooms age, but this means, as yet, nothing to him, because he has not so far found a woman in whose love he can trust as he could in his mothers. In “Scylla and Charybdis”, Stephen explicates Venus and Adonis in his own unique way:
Thus far he has been speaking aloud, but the next two lines record his private thoughts:
We now know that on 16 June 1904 Joyces own turn had come: that evening he went walking for the first time with Nora Barnacle. In Ellmanns words,
Thanks to Ulysses, however, that day does not divide them but unites them forever in the gallery of archetypes that great literature holds in trust for the world.
“Scylla and Charybdis” has a final felicity to offer us on its last page, the first reciprocal acknowledgement of each others existence made by Bloom and Stephen on this day of days. They have already been in each others vicinity three times - in Hades, Aeolus, and the present episode - though Stephen was not aware of Bloom in Hades. Now, though without exchanging a word, they gesture to each other.
Thus Stephen and Mulligan momentarily become Scylla and Charybdis, while Ulysses/Bloom passes safely between. The last word is left to Shakespeare, a quotation from Cymberline which may suggest Ulysses gratitude - and Joyces - at having negotiated a difficult passage: