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Poem Analysis or Character - Assignment Example

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“Ulysses” By Lord Tennyson         Lord Alfred Tennyson wrote the poem ‘Ulysses’ in blank verse and it is in the form of a dramatic monologue by the central character. Ulysses the great warrior has returned home to the island of Ithaca after fighting in the savage Trojan War…
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Poem Assignment Analysis or Character
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Download file to see previous pages He yearns for the freedom of his earlier life. His lust for wandering is not yet over and he wants to roam the world with his old mariners. Although he is now back in his own kingdom with his wife and son he is still feeling restless and depressed. The poem brings out the agony of his heart as well as his indomitable spirit.         The contentment of domestic life is not for a man like Ulysses who is a traveler at heart and by soul. He misses his eventful past life and regrets that he has to now “mete and dole/Unequal laws unto a savage race,” (Tennyson, 1090, line3). Ulysses’ age is not a barrier to him. His soul still yearns for fresh adventures -“Come, my friends,/ Tis not too late to seek a newer world.” (Tennyson, 1091, line56) Some of the lines in this poem are enjambed. This means that the sentences often end in the middle rather than the end of the lines. Also the thought expressed in the line does not end with the line break-up - “I cannot rest from travel: I will drink / Life to the lees: all times I have enjoyed” (Tennyson, 1090, line6) Here the poet expresses different thoughts in different sections of the poem. Initially we see legendary warrior who has returned home and finds the daily routine of life boring and mundane. His yearning for fresh adventures comes through in nearly every line. His aged wife gets mentioned only in two lines of the poem. Likewise he does not seem to have any attachment towards the subjects he governs. His attention is focused only on traveling with his old companions in search of fresh adventures.           Ulysses thinks his son Telemachus shall be a prudent king. Telemachus will inherit the throne from his father and govern Ithaca. As for himself Ulysses only wants to venture out in search of a new world- “Come, my friends/Tis not too late to seek a newer world.” (Tennyson, 1091, line57) Ulysses is well aware of the risks involved but this does not deter him. Neither old age nor the fear of death frightens this old warrior. Instead he exhorts his mariners to come with him on one last voyage. This poem also makes a statement about defying death and old age. Although death is inevitable we should not allow the fear of death to stop us from reaching our goal. A man should have the courage to live for the moment. Thus we might say this poem is an allegory about mortality. This idea is expressed vividly in the following lines:-                          “ We are not now that strength which in the old days                              Moved earth and heaven; that which we are, we are,                             One equal-temper of heroic hearts,                             Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will                            To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.” (Tennyson, 1091, line66) Thus the feelings of the poet are similar to the sentiments expressed by Ulysses when he tells his men “To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.” (Tennyson, 1091, line70) It is the indomitable courage of Ulysses that appeals to the poet and which finds expression in this poem. It is this fearlessness, which is an integral part of Ulysses’s character. The Ulysses we find in this poem cannot be called a perfect hero. There are several flaws in his character. Perhaps these imperfections make him more ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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