Bloom is a seller of newspaper ads and an impresario or conductor for a singing tour that includes his wife and her lover, a role that encapsulates Bloom: schemer and cuckold. Bloom's head is full of utopian visions and inventions; he also delights in everyday sensual pleasures, like breakfast and baths. He is Jewish, although he does not practice Judaism.
Born on the island of Gibraltar, Molly Bloom is the daughter of an Irish officer, Major Tweedy, and a woman of Gibraltarian/Spanish descent. Molly often yields to her impulses for kisses and/or sex, but she is far from the cruel mistress of Bloom's imaginings in the "Circe" episode. The ocean-like flow of her desire sometimes pains Bloom, but it is also her strength. Ulysses culminates in Molly's interior monologue, a flood of unrestrained thought.
Stephen chafes against authority: his father, the Catholic Church, the English. He is impoverished and ambitious. He studied medicine and also wants to be a writer, although at age 22 his talents are still untried. A lingering guilt over his mother's death is balanced by a strong desire to escape the clutches of his miserable family.