Humble Life Of Ulysses: Homer's Poem

1306 words - 5 pages

One of the greatest honors that a writer can behold is creating such an amazing piece of literature that resounds year after year. It is inherently known that Homer’s The Iliad and The Odyssey are some of these amazing texts. Alfred, Lord Tennyson wrote about The Odyssey in his famous poem Ulysses. Ulysses is Latin for Odysseus, the main character in Homer’s epic poem. In that poem, a man who has fought in the battle of Troy is on his way home, but it isn’t an easy travel. He is faced with many obstacles, and his home is being destroyed. Yet, he makes it back in time to restore order for his wife Penelope and son Telemachus. Beth Gaboury describes this when she writes: “The poem “Ulysses” by Alfred Tennyson is a narrative of the Greek mythology hero Ulysses, also known under the name Odysseus. In this poem, Ulysses is describing his deep urge to go out into the wild unknown and seek out one last adventure-one last hurrah. In a strange twist of irony, it is when Ulysses reaches his goal, finally returning home to his wife and son, that he realizes his true desire.” (Gaboury, 2011) Throughout analyzing Tennyson’s great poem, we can understand that Ulysses’ purpose was to explore all facets of the Earth until he is dead, this concept though contrasts with his previous experiences, but through those experiences he garners a humble attitude.
First of all, we can see Ulysses’ purpose in Tennyson’s poem was to explore the vastness of the Earth throughout his life. In Tennyson’s poem, he writes: “Push off, and sitting well in order smite the sounding furrows; for my purpose holds to sail beyond the sunset, and the baths of all the western stars, until I die.” (pg. 973 lines 58-61) He fully intended on living life to the fullest, and to find the best things in life. Yet, to him this life just wasn’t enough. Adam Roberts expands on his thoughts when he writes: “He remembers his youth: the people he has known, the places he has seen, the things he has done - and then, the poem changes tone and pace and we realize that he has decided to head out to sea once more, leaving his son Telemachus to rule in his place. With that intent, he rallies his surviving shipmates…And so, in search of that ‘work of noble note’, they set sail one last time, on a one-way voyage from which he has no intention of returning…” (Roberts, 2009) It often takes a person their entire life to realize what their purpose is, and this applies to Ulysses. Right before his death, he understood that he spent way too much time doing nothing.
Secondly, the previous idea explained opens his life to criticism by the inherent contrasts in his ideology portrayed in Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s text Ulysses. Kerry Michael Wood describes how quickly his ideology changes when he writes: “Initially, one thinks of the warrior hero as complaining about the lack of adventure that he has experienced for three years after his lengthy return from Troy. But then one realizes that it is not adventure...

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