Haines’ interrogation of Stephen continues. He’s confused by Stephen’s paradoxical attachment to the Catholic church despite not believing in God. And he’s just told Stephen (in the last page) that he doesn’t see why Stephen can’t be free, be his own Master. So here, Stephen explains why.
It is not surprising that an Irishman at the turn of the twentieth century would see himself as the servant of the British state and the Catholic church. But who is the third master Stephen mentions?
This is usually read as referring to Mulligan, as in Stephen’s thought that he is the “server of a servant” when he carries Mulligan’s shaving bowl downstairs earlier in the episode.
So does Stephen seem interested in doing anything about his servitude? Does anything seem possible? What might it mean for Stephen to feel he is a servant to Britain and the church?