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Ulysses By Tennyson Essay

1394 words - 6 pages

ULSSYES: A SUMMARY.Ø Tennyson's poem 'Ulysses' is centred upon the mythological character Ulysses, (called Odysseus by the Greeks). Ulysses is especially known for being extremely adventurous and courageous; his life can be said to be a long journey full of adventure.Ulysses is about to leave his kingdom of Ithaca to his son Telemachus and set out on a great adventure, which may reunite him with his dead companion of the Trojan wars.Tennyson's choice of character for this specific poem appears quite significant, especially when we learn that he wrote 'Ulysses' three weeks upon hearing of the death of a good friend, Hallam. Throughout 'Ulysses', Tennyson seems to be emphasising the importance of life. The poem seems to be written with a sense of loss, but also with the whole idea that life must be forced on and fought until the very end, despite all that happens.The mixture of negative words in the first few opening lines of the poem, strongly suggest a feeling of discontentment; 'idle', 'barren crags', 'aged wife', 'mete' and 'savage', combine to help us understand that he is unhappy with his life at the current. He appears to be fed up with inactivity. He talks of feeling completely detached from the "savage race" of people he rules over, they "hoard, and sleep and feed and know not [[him]]". The reader soon learns to see what Ulysses is preparing us for. It is almost as though he is trying to justify why he is doing what he is planning on telling us. He is explaining the circumstances from his point of view as to make us understand exactly why he must leave his people and country behind. He "cannot rest from travel" and will "drink life to the lees". In other words, he will take and live life to the full."all times I have enjoyed greatly, have suffered greatly…" The above quote helps us understand that he is not looking for excitement but rather is fully aware of what to realistically expect; there are both good and bad times, which appears to be what he is saying he prefers. It is to some degree, one of the main reasons to go on travel.He speaks of liking the idea of being recognised in all the different countries or cities he visits, it is almost like he gets a high from this recognition. He is aware that he has become renowned for living life the way he does. We see that he feels a part of all he has met; he is not only enthusiastic and glad of what he has experienced but also feels as though he has gained and taken form it all. Yet, he still sees all his experience as a starting point; "..all experience is an arch wherethrough Gleams that untravelled world whose margin fades" Despite all the places he has visited, he is still not content. He has a desperate need to want to see and do so much more. His outlook on life seems to be that one should not just look at something through the distance but actually get up and try working towards that goal. For him, this very goal is to travel around the entire world. The more he...

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