Analysis Of Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s Epic Poem Ulysses

1222 words - 5 pages

Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s epic poem "Ulysses" is composed as a dramatic monologue, consisting of four stanzas each of which frankly discuss the speakers current situation and yearning for adventure. The use of iambic pentameter provides a sense of fluidity to the speaker’s voice. The speaker reveals himself to be the protagonist of the poem with the opening line “It little profits that an idle king” (1). The use of the word “idle” offers the first clue as to one of the main themes of the poem. Tennyson much like the protagonist of his poem feels the need to move on, in life. The period in which the poem was wrote, many sociable changes where occurring in Victorian England, the effects of the industrial revolution where being felt far and wide and there was, the idea that society needed to work together in order to establish conformity. Ulysses is feeling emotionally empty throughout the poem, without his mariner friends and adventures similar to times gone by, a similar situation that Tennyson had found himself in.
“Ulysses” was written after the death of his close friend, soul mate and confidante Arthur Henry Hallam. This was one of many poems composed by Tennyson, upon Hallam’s death the most notable being “Memorandum” (1833-1850). Tennyson himself commented how the series of poems were a direct comparison to how he felt after the loss of his dear friend. The poem was published in the book Poems by Alfred Tennyson (1842). Mythological characters appear to play an important role within Tennyson’s poetry, from English folk law characters such as King Arthur that featured in “Morte D’Arthur and other Idyllis” to the Greek mariner and adventurer Ulysses. The character of Ulysses has featured in many great epic poems, most notably Homer’s “Odyssey” and “Iliad” and Dante’s “The Divine Comedy”.
Tennyson although not unique in his characterisation of the Ulysses, he does however provides a different representation of the Greek hero, than his peers and predecessors’. We discover Ulysses after the famous battle of Troy and his twenty year hiatus from his kingdom of Ithaca. Tennyson's decision to use the Latin spelling of the name is explained in Robbins critique;
The poet finds the inspiration for his speaker’s mood and attitude in Homer’s Odysseus and Dante’s Ulysses, especially the later, whose mode of utterance in the inferno suggests form and feeling of Tennyson's poem. (Tennyson's "Ulysses": The Significance of the Homeric and Dantesque Backgrounds. 177-93)
Stanza’s one and two are relatively short in comparison to the third and forth stanzas, when examined closely the reasoning behind the decision to use Dante's Ulysses becomes apparent. The speaker provides little detail and discuss’ his wife and the citizens of Ithaca as if they where inconsequential, his wife is described as "aged" and the people of Ithaca are described as “a savage race, / That hoard, and sleep, and feed". A number of critics compare Tennyson’s own personal...

Find Another Essay On Analysis of Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s Epic Poem Ulysses

Explain in detail the symbolism used by Alfred, Lord Tennyson in his poem "The Lady of Shalott

1204 words - 5 pages The poem "The Lady of Shalott" by Alfred, Lord Tennyson takes it's inspiration from the popular legends of King Arthur. It tells the story of a beautiful woman forced to live in a tower room and weave. The poem poses a hidden question--can the belief in a curse bring about suffering simply because that is the "expected" result?At first, the Lady finds solace in her weaving. A mirror placed on the far side of her loom allows her to see

Analysis of Epic Poem Beowulf

1647 words - 7 pages Beowulf is the conventional title of an Old English epic poem consisting of 3182 alliterative long lines, set in Scandinavia, commonly cited as one of the most important works of Anglo-Saxon literature due to the fact that it is the oldest surviving epic poem of Old English and also the earliest vernacular English literature. Tragedy and epic have been much discussed as separate genres, but critics have not hesitated to designate certain

The Gift of Life: Ulysses by Alfred

820 words - 4 pages Every living thing was giving the gift of life. Life is something unimaginable, something that is hard to explain in a way. No matter where you came from, life is precious and sometimes mistaken. In the text Ulysses by Alfred, Lord Tennyson his mariners and Ulysses are not ever taken their life for granted. As stated by Ulysses, “My mariners, souls that have toiled and wrought, and thought with me--that ever with a frolic welcome took...Old age

Humble Life of Ulysses: Homer's Poem

1306 words - 5 pages are, we are—one equal temper of heroic hearts, made weak by time and fate, but strong in will to strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.” (pg. 973 lines 65-70) He is finally a humble man. Although there isn’t a bright line to drawing out a fantastic epic poem, following the same guidelines from Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s poem Ulysses will do the trick. Through careful analysis of his poem, one can comprehend what Ulysses felt was his purpose in

An Analysis of Tennyson’s The Princess

866 words - 3 pages An Analysis of Tennyson’s The Princess   Alfred, Lord Tennyson is the most influential poet of the Victorian Age. He was named poet laureate of England by the Queen, and the first poet to receive a title Lord. In his lifetime Tennyson has produced many works which are considered great. Such one is The Princess which is a long narrative poem with a number of songs. One of these songs is “ Tears, Idle Tears”, a poem full of sorrow

An Analysis of the Epic Poem, Beowulf - Characterization of Beowulf

1995 words - 8 pages the hero as he did in earllier combats, with the result that the hero is mortally wounded and dies. His successor, Wiglaf, quickly enters the poem at a critical moment and manifests many kingly qualities:   WIGLAF his name was, Weohstan's son, linden-thane loved, the lord of Scylfings, Aelfhere's kinsman. His king he now saw with heat under helmet hard oppressed.   But the poem ends before there is opportunity for

Analysis of the Epic Poem, Beowulf - Beowulf and Caedmon’s Hymn

2319 words - 9 pages Lord wise and holy, will give war-glory to whichever side He thinks the right.” Thus the hero expressed total reliance on God – which in the Christian scheme of things is the way it is supposed to be. He is truly a Christian hero at this stage of the poem.   God stood alongside the hero in his monster combats, even providing a magic sword against the mother, and in his feud-repayments. But towards the end of the epic, when Beowulf was

Poety of Alfred Lord Tennyson

959 words - 4 pages easily shown in the last line; “In roaring he shall rise and on the surface die.” There are many other examples for Tennyson’s less than lively poetry. Tennyson uses luring words in his poems. If a person didn’t know anything about poetry they might think that they were reading a love poem. He uses words that almost calm the reader, although they might be reading about death, or regret. His use of language is very appealing. Alfred Lord

The Epic of Gilgamesh Poem

1808 words - 7 pages In the epic poem titled The Epic of Gilgamesh, Gilgamesh was a king who ruled over the Sumerian city of Uruk around 2600 B.C. Gilgamesh was a very powerful and strong king, but he realized that he must use his power to help the people of Uruk. He is two-thirds god and one third human, which makes him realize that he must reconcile with the fact that he will eventually face death. He realizes that he will not reach full immortality and needs

Poetic analysis of 'The Charge of the Light Brigade' by Alfred, Lord Tennyson

989 words - 4 pages The disastrous cavalry charge during the Battle of Balaclava is still very much remembered today in Alfred, Lord Tennyson's narrative poem, 'The Charge of the Light Brigade'. In every line of the six stanzas, Tennyson reflects deeply on the strong courage of the 600 cavalry men even during the most tragic of times. Written with detailed recount, the poem tells us of the brave charge the soldiers made even when they knew they were following

An Analysis of the Epic Poem, Beowulf - Origin and Evolution of Beowulf

1659 words - 7 pages poorly regarded for a long time, was taken by the Geats for less than he was worth . . . (Heaney 79),  which do not fit the protagonist who has received nothing but praise throughout the rest of the epic.  A footnote in Heaney's translation points out this idea of the "`Cinderella hero' [as an] . . . example of folklore material, probably circulating orally, that made its way into the poem" (editor's note, Heaney 79). Between the

Similar Essays

Analysis Of Ulysses By Alfred Lord Tennyson

770 words - 3 pages Analysis of Ulysses by Alfred Lord Tennyson In the poem "Ulysses" by Alfred, Lord Tennyson, the readers are shown a great king in the later years of his life. The reader finds Ulysses reflecting on the glorious days of his youth and planning that by some means he will obtain those glorious times again. He refuses to accept a future of growing old and ruling his kingdom. Ulysses will not let the rest of his life pass him by just sitting

"Ulysses" By Alfred Tennyson Poem

896 words - 4 pages that were written such a long time ago can still be associated with real life in the modern world. Timeless pieces of literature such as Lord Tennyson's poem and Greek mythology will always have the ability to correlate to modern day life no matter what day and age it is. The relation between Ulysses experiences and the modern day persons experiences are best described in lines 68 to 70 of the poem; "One equal temper of heroic hearts, Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield."

The Highwayman By Alfred Noyes And Lord Tennyson’s The Lady Of Shalott

1994 words - 8 pages The Highwayman by Alfred Noyes and Lord Tennyson’s The Lady of Shalott In this essay, I intend to examine the storylines, themes and language of ‘The Highwayman’ and ‘The Lady of Shalott’ and then explain why I think that one of the poems is more powerful than the other one. ‘The Highwayman’ is a love story full of romance and adventure. The hero is the rakish highwayman of the title who dies for the love of his mistress – the

A Comparison Of 'my Last Duchess' By Robert Browning And 'ulysses' By Alfred Lord Tennyson

1078 words - 4 pages A Comparison of 'My Last Duchess' by Robert Browning and 'Ulysses' by Alfred Lord Tennyson These two poems, or monologues, were written by Robert Browning (My last Duchess) and Alfred Lord Tennyson (Ulysses), in the 19th century during the reign of Queen Victoria. Many other influential writers were also born in this period. During this time, Britain’s population doubled from 17.5 million to 37 million. Britain was a very