Ulysses By Tennyson Essay Research Paper The

Ulysses By Tennyson Essay, Research Paper

The poem I chose to write about is ?Ulysses?, by Alfred Lord Tennyson. It is

a poem based on Homer?s Odyssey, which is the story of Odysseus (Ulysses) and

his journeys. Odysseus was King of Ithaca and leader of the Greek army. The

Greeks sailed into Troy to fight what turned out to be a lengthy battle. After

ten years at war, Odysseus and the Greek army conquered Troy and set out on

their voyage home. On their journey they encountered a series of adventures. I

plan to discuss what the poem ?Ulysses? is about, why it was written and

what it means. ?Ulysses? is a speech Odysseus gives to his sailors,

rebelling against his life and conformity, after he reclaimed the throne in

Ithaca. According to Dante, Ulysses never returned to Ithaca because of his love

for adventure. Tennyson combines Dante?s ending with Homer?s to show

Ulysses? rebellious nature. In his speech Ulysses explains why he wants to

leave Ithaca forever. He says that he has returned home and found his wife is

old and his duties as King are only to make sure the laws are kept. He does not

want to live a life of conformity, instead he wants to ?drink/Life to the

lees? (283). Lees are the sediments left at the bottom of wine when it is

made. Ulysses is saying that he wants to live life to the fullest and that he is

leaving because he has become a part of the world that he created through his

journeys. Tennyson shows this in the statement, ?I am part of all that I have

met? (283). Ulysses feels that if he stays in Ithaca he will be wasting his

life. He says that he does not want to feel like a set of armor left to rust.

Telemechus, Ulysses? son, is left in charge as King of Ithaca. Ulysses

believes that his son is better for Ithaca than he would be. He also feels the

ocean and his boat calling him for one more adventure. Tennyson writes, ?There

lies the port; the vessel puffs her sail? (284). He calls his friends and

tries to inspire them to join him on his new journey. He says that together they

have moved mountains and though they are not as strong as they once were, they

still have a strong will. According to Tennyson, Ulysses tries to encourage his

men by saying, ?Come, my friends, ?tis not too late to seek a newer

world?(284). The speech is ended by Ulysses telling his men ?not to

yield?, but to rebel and never conform to society. This poem was Ulysses?

rebellion against conformity. He was a man who traveled the seas and had new

adventures every day. Ulysses feels that if he were to give that up, his life

would have no point. He could not live a life that he felt was meaningless.

Tennyson shows that Ulysses does not want his life to end this way when he

states, ?My purpose holds to sail beyond the sunset, and the baths of all the

western stars, until I die?(284). The reason I chose the poem ?Ulysses?,

is because I have read and enjoyed Homer?s Odyssey. The fact that this poem is

based on the Odyssey and about Ulysses speech really caught my attention.

Tennyson creates a very powerful character of Ulysses through the words of this

poem. While I read it, I could picture Ulysses standing in front of his men

pleading and trying to persuade them to join him on one last journey. According

to Tennyson, Ulysses? reasoning was that ?Some work of noble note, may yet

be done?(284). I could also picture myself among Ulysses? men, getting

excited and energized, as if he was a coach giving a prep talk before a big

game. The poem ?Ulysses? is very different from most poems in that it is the

speech of one man, written by another. I feel this approach by Tennyson, was

very successful in creating a powerful image of Ulysses? speech. The poem

emphasized Ulysses rebellion against conformity. At the end of the poem, Ulysses

placed his son in charge of Ithaca and set his sails west to an untold



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