8.5 The Trinity
The existence of HCE in the totality of his male descendants functions in a similar fashion to his presence within the female rainbow. As such an immanence, he is described as 'The soul of everyelsesbody rolled into its olesoleself' (FW 329.18-19) following the Norwegian Captain's marriage to the daughter of Kersse the Tailor. When incarnate he has, as ALP suggests, 'three men in him (schwrites)' (FW 113.14-15). Conversely, following his fall he is the multifaceted stone creation, horse and 'print', as 'his threefaced stonehead was found on a whitehorse hill and the print of his costellous feet is seen in the goat's grass circle' (FW 132.12-14). As the archaeological relic of HCE is accorded a simultaneous presence in the living form of the biological letter, Shem describes him in the Nightlessons chapter as 'more mob than man' (FW 261.21-22). This living 'spirit' of HCE is consistently depicted as the third brother, the holy ghost in a Wakean version of the trinity:
the hinndoo Shimar Shin between the dooley boy and the hinnessy. (FW 10.6-7)
Messrs Achburn, Soulpetre and Ashreborn. (FW 59.17-18)
THREE male ones, a shover, a butlegger and a sectary. (FW 166.17-18)
How their duel makes their triel. (FW 238.31)
those sohns of a blitzh call the tuone tuone and thonder alout makes the thurd. (FW 314.28-29)
And three's here's for repeat of the unium! (FW 317.29)
— Three in one, one and three.
Shem and Shaun and the shame that sunders em. (FW 526.13-14)
Once for the chantermale, twoce for the pother and once twoce threece for the waither. (FW 594.31-32)
The third brother fulfills a significant number of differing roles, and is identified in the above with the plebeian mob, a resurrected king, a sectarian, the law, the spirit of creation, and Irish independence. As the 'hinndoo' in the first instance above, the third brother is a union of the hinnessy (Hennessey Whisky, Shem) and the dooley boy (the Irish catholic Shaun), but in the last quotation, he is the holy spirit of a post-fall trinity of deified masculine power, being both the 'waiter' sitting out an enforced retirement, and the 'wafer' of the eucharist.
As the 'shame' that both sunders and links Shem and Shaun, the third brother embodies a past 'instant of blind rut', the Wake's version of the original sin which in Ulysses separates father and son:
— They are sundered by a bodily shame so steadfast that the criminal annals of the world, stained with all other incests and bestialities, hardly records its breach. Sons with mothers, sires with daughters, lesbic sisters, loves that dare not speak their name, nephews with grandmothers, jailbirds with keyholes, queens with prize bulls. The son unborn mars beauty: born he brings pain, divides affection, increases care. He is a new male: his growth is his father's decline [...].
— What links them in nature? An instant of blind rut. (U 9.850-59)
As the Wakean link between the deity as father and his son in a second coming, sexual knowledge undermines the textual (as opposed to sexual) construction of the Christian reincarnation. A duality between a sexual 'shame' and a textual/cultural 'sham' is implicit in the answer to Shem's first riddle of the universe, 'when is a man not a man? [...] when he is a — yours till the rending of the rocks, — Sham' (FW 170.5-24). The Sham here also evokes the impotence of a fallen HCE, whose former sexual potency results in his fall and the consequential Shame. Patrick McCarthy notes that the last two words of the riddle when reversed read 'shamrock', St Patrick's symbol for the trinity.11 The prize offered for answering the riddle is 'a bittersweet crab' (FW 170.7), or apple, which on one level alludes to the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge in the biblical version of the original sin. Further, one of Joyce's notes regarding Shem's riddle also indicates that the 'Sham' is the deity: 'God [ 1st riddle'.12
The riddle's answer of 'Sham' recalls an identical theme embedded in a description of the picture in Book I.1, 'Fake!' (FW 13.3), which, in its echo of 'fuck', links 'an instant of blind rut' with a converse notion of fraudulent imitation (see above,*). The secret impotence of the fallen deity is mirrored by Shem's letter, the latter of which is similar to the archaeological picture of HCE in that it has a powerful effect upon socio-sexual life, but is unable to participate in the process of biological reproduction (see also above, *). Shaun accordingly describes Shem as a 'sham', accusing him of preferring an entombed representation of life to actuality when he suggests that he was: 'So low was he that he that he preferred Gibsen's teatime salmon tinned, [...] to the plumpest roeheavy lax or the friskiest parr or smolt troutlet that ever was gaffed' (FW 170.26-29). Here the meta-deity HCE can be understood as both the eucharist and the magic salmon upon which, according to Irish folk tradition, Finn MacCool burns his thumb as it cooks, and sucking it receives his special knowledge.13 The canned salmon Shem favours to the 'roeheavy' females and 'frisky' males of socio-sexual life is the archaeological remnant of HCE, elsewhere described as a vague photograph of a 'once wallstrait oldparr' (FW 3.17):
But, lo, as you would quaffoff his fraudstuff and sink teeth through that pyth of a flowerwhite bodey behold of him as behemoth for he is noewhemoe. Finiche! Only a fadograph of a yestern scene. Almost rubicund Salmosalar, ancient fromout the ages of the Agapemonides, he is smolten in our mist, woebecanned and packt away. (FW 7.12-18)
The 'fraudstuff' of his 'flowerwhite bodey' alludes to the eucharist, and Shem's meal of tinned salmon is described as 'dead off' in another allusion to the trinity emphasising its fraudulence, where the holy ghost becomes a red herring rather than red salmon: 'So that meal's dead off for summan, schlook, schlice and goodridhirring' (FW 7.18-19). The deity, as fallen HCE, is significant in the present as a consequence of a past original sin of creativity, but whose present potency is a matter of some doubt. The parallel concepts of Shame and Sham, indicative of potency and impotence, the 'flesh' and 'word' duality of the letter, and the relationship of the biological trinity to the literary logos, reflect Joyce's displacement of the Christian deity with a notion of immortality and material recurrence (i.e. escape) instead founded upon sexual reproduction and art. Shem/HCE's use of the condom in Book III.4 simultaneously qualifies both as the Shame and Sham, as it is an act of sexual reproduction yet one which is nevertheless sterile in its outcome. In a passage which describes Shem/HCE as both Pharaoh and Beelzebub, ALP accordingly alludes to her paramour as both the Shame and the Sham, with the narrator suggesting that their attempt to escape into 'himmertality' comprises a biological creation of the Wakean picture which closes off of the feminine signifier:
Pharoah with fairy, two lie, let them! Yet they wend it back, qual his leif, himmertality, bullseaboob and rivishy divil, light in hand, helm on high, to peekaboo durk the thicket of slumbwhere, till their hour with their scene be struck for ever and the book of the dates he close, he clasp and she and she seegn her tour d'adieu, Pervinca calling, Soloscar hears. (O Sheem! O Shaam!) (FW 580.12-18)
11 Patrick McCarthy, The Riddles of Finnegans Wake (London: Associated University Presses, 1980), p. 92.
12 James Joyce, James Joyce's Scribbedehobble: The Ur-Workbook for Finnegans Wake, ed. Thomas E. Connolly (Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 1961), p.142, quoted in McCarthy, The Riddles of Finnegans Wake, p. 82.
13 Jeremiah Curtin, Myths and Folk-Lore of Ireland (Boston: 1890), p. 211, cited in Joseph Falaky Nagy, The Wisdom of the Outlaw: The Boyhood Deeds of Finn in Gaelic Narrative Tradition (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1985), p. 22.