Ulysses Essay Research Paper An Idle King

Ulysses Essay, Research Paper

An Idle King In "Ulysses," Tennyson presents Ulysses, the great Greek

war hero and warrior of the Trojan War, serving, again, as king of Ithaca.

Ulysses, having been home for three years, feels himself stagnating and wasting

his life in the unwanted role of king. Longs to be again the man he has been.

Ulysses desires a life of independence, physical adventure, and intellectual

pursuit. Ulysses desires a life of independence. The island is dependent on him

and the civilization "hoard, and sleep, and feed, and know not me."

Ulysses yearns to escape to be on his own yet; the people rely on his kingship

although they carry out life without giving much thought for Ulysses. He sees

the "savage race" not aware of what his heart desires nor of adventure

and/or intellectual life. After three years of being king, Ulysses feel old and

his idleness leaves him with his name and reputation. Discerns that his subjects

do not comprehend his personality, and believes that his talents are

disappearing while staying at Ithaca. Ulysses says, "How dull it is to

pause, to make an end" to a journey that has adventure, courageous events,

and glory. He does not want to stop and live life as king, but to sail himself

into independence. Telemachus, son of Ulysses, is more fitted to govern than his

father does because Telemachus strives to take over "the scepter and the

isle." Secondly, Telemachus has the deposition that will allow him

"? by slow prudence to make/A rugged people," and bring them to a

state that "is useful and ? good." Ulysses sees his son able to

amend the citizens up to a new level. In seeking independence, Ulysses chooses

to give his throne to his son so he can rejuvenate his soul, and which allows

himself to find greatness again. Ulysses desires a life of physical adventure.

He comes to realize that "For some three suns" he has "store[d],

and hoard[ed]" himself as though to "rest from travel." Remembers

living abroad for twenty years as he "[roamed] with a hungry heart"

seeking and feeling adventure. Destiny allows Ulysses to see much different

"cities of men" where they have certain "manners, climates,

councils, [and] governments," which greet him with respect and honor.

Ulysses also remembers of the times he has "enjoyed/Greatly, ? suffered

greatly, both with those that loved me and alone." The "delight of

battle?/Far on the ringing planes of windy Troy" pleases Ulysses and

calms his soul which seeks for more adventure. The king knows that breathing is

not living and wishes to fulfill life with many adventures and experiences. What

little life remains for Ulysses, he knows that "life plied on life,"

one life after another, is not enough for all of the delightful wars. In

addition, he apprehends that his sailors are old, like himself, but that

"Old age hath yet his honor and his toil." Ulysses desires a great

amount of adventure by sailing with his hair in the wind again. This, he thinks,

will save him from being "a gray spirit yearning in desire," and will

restore him to, like before, an active life. Ulysses desires a life of

intellectual pursuit. He finds satisfaction in physical adventure and in a

continuos intellectual venture to fill his avid thirst for life. Ulysses

continually seeks for knowledge, "Beyond the utmost bound of human

thought." Considers himself "?a part of all that ? [he has]

met," from the previous travels, yet he wishes "to seek a newer

world." How he will find the new destination is by "sail[ing] beyond

the sunset, and the baths of all the western stars, until [he dies]."

Ulysses will continue his quest for intellectual pursuit traveling westward

toward the unexplored land that might lie in the Atlantic Ocean and keep seeking

knowledge until death overtakes him. In his monologue, Ulysses states, "?

every hour ? saved from that eternal silence [death]," is "A bringer

of new things." Ulysses will undertake to reach the horizon, which is

always from its pursuer, seeking new knowledge. Not only his thirst for insight

will never be satisfied, but he plans, even if he has not, "that strength

which in old days/Moved earth and heaven," will be capable to strive, to

seek, to find?." The quest for wisdom makes Ulysses wants to leave his

kingdom and feel the same again as years before. Ulysses, who desires to be

independent, finds that the life he returns to be not what after twenty years he

has been searching. He feels that he needs to be adventurous, and wiser, so long

as life permits his desires of sailing to the unknown.


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