Ulysses Essay, Research Paper
Ulysses,The Winter of a King
The Winter of a King 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 still on his throne, doing the mundane job of ruling a kingdom. Ulysses has reached the twilight years in his life and yet he refuses to give in to the fate that time has for all men. Ulysses states in the second stanza, ?I cannot rest from travel; I will drink / Life to the lees.?(line 9-10) With this statement from Ulysses the reader is shown that he has become very disillusioned about whatever life his throne could bring him if he were to stay at home and run the kingdom. The reader discovers what Ulysses thinks he has to do with the rest of his life when he states ?I am become a name; / For always roaming with a hungry heart?. (11-12) With this statement the reader is shown that Ulysses wants to go back to the days when he was always known for his adventuring on the open sea.. Ulysses feels that he must once again embark on the adventure and danger that kept his blood flowing and his spirit content that he only found during his seaward explorations. Ulysses is obsessed with the way he has lived in the past and will give up anything to regain it. The reader finds out just how far he is willing to go to have one more experience of his courageous youth, when he states, ? This is my son, mine own Crockett 2 Telemachus, / To whom I leave the scepter and the isle-?. (33-34) With this Ulysses has let everyone know the true shallowness of his character, and has shown a major fault in this otherwise larger than life legend of being a king. He has become so self-centered and full of self-pity that he shows little, if no respect for those close to him and to those he is supposed to be ruling. Ulysses has put his own self-gratification above everything else. The reader is shown that however great Ulysses once was, he possesses many of the same faults that most other men possess. Toward the end of the poem, Ulysses prepares to go on the voyage that he and his aging crew will embark on. The reader also finds out that he has finally accepted the fact that he is growing old. Nevertheless, Ulysses is determined to bring honor to himself no matter his age. He is convinced that his work is not yet completed and that there are still newer lands to discover. Ulysses is convinced that if he sails beyond the sunset he can, ?touch the Happy Isles, / And see the great Achilles?(63-64). In other words, Ulysses wants to find, and enter their version of utopia so that he can dwell as one of the favorites of the gods, thereby enjoying life after death. By the time the reader has completed the poem, and it is not hard to see that Ulysses is searching for the same thing a lot of other men have searched for, a way to cheat and/or escape death. However, the reader also sees a man that is throwing away what he has gained, in the hopes of finding a small glimpse of his past or even the proverbial “pot of gold” at the end of the rainbow known as immortality. Nevertheless, the readers now have a different viewpoint of a once great legend; they find that he was more human than before and prone to the same kinds of weaknesses that most men are vulnerable to. For Crockett 3 even the great Ulysses, toward the end of his life, was trying to escape the fate that all men face during the winter of their years.