The librarian trying to facilitate literary debate is called away by an attendant. John Eglington ribs Stephen about his plans to transform Paradise Lost into the Sorrows of Satan and suggests he needs the mystical seven rather than six voices. Stephen knows that Mulligan will have got his telegram while he waited for him at the Ship. Stephen decides it is folly to argue but goes ahead anyway and John Eglington asks for something to rival Hamlet. Russell known in the literary world as A.E joins in with ideas about eternal wisdom as developed by Plato and asserts that all else is just the speculation of school boys. Stephen bolstered by J.J. Molloy’s news that Russell told an American journalist about him, politely interjects, that Aristotle was once Plato’s schoolboy. John Eglington remarks that he will always by Plato’s schoolboy. Stephen knows he is being set up and runs through some wild ideas in his head. The entrance of Mr Best a naïve young man helps prompt a comment about a model schoolboy finding both Hamlet and Plato equally shallow.

The comparison between Plato and Aristotle riles Eglington. Stephen quickly reviews ideas about space and time that he mulled over in the classroom earlier in the day. He is sarcastic about those groveling after Blake into eternity and commits to the present as the threshold between the future and the past.