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Tennyson uses wording to illustrate that Ulysses finds his traditional social roles boring and conflicting with his identity. Ulysses sees the life of a king as repetitive and dull. He says: “It little profits that an idle king” (Tennyson 1). Ulysses does not find ruling an exciting responsibility. Furthermore, Ulysses seeks adventures, which being a king does not offer, so he turns over his responsibilities to his son. The poem shows his desire to be someone that a king is not: “When I am gone. He works his work, I mine” (Tennyson 43). He believes that his son is better suited to be a king, while he is more fitting as a wandering adventurer. Aside from wording, Tennyson employs metaphors to show how Ulysses sees traveling as part of his identity. One of the most vivid metaphors involves enjoying traveling as one would a drink: “I cannot rest from travel: I will drink/Life to the lees…” (Tennyson 6-7). For Ulysses, travelling symbolizes the enjoyment of one’s life because it is his dream. Furthermore, Ulysses does not see being a king as equal to his identity. He compares ruling to rusting: “To rust unburnishd, not to shine in use!” (Tennyson 23). He rusts because ruling does not fulfill his identity, where it is his destiny to travel until he dies. Traveling and adventures feed Ulysses’ identity. Despite the strengths of pursuing self-interests, I disagree with Ulysses’ ideals because I cannot leave my family and community behind to satisfy my thirst for adventure, even if that adventure is the core of my identity. Being an individual can be balanced with being part of one’s family and community. I can and will find ways to become who I want to be without necessarily neglecting my social identity. To become who I am is not always about opposing my family and community roles. I cannot be completely happy, if people I cherish
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