Ulysses Essay

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.

We will write a custom essay sample on
Ulysses Essay
or any similar topic only for you
Order now

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.


Hi there, would you like to get such a paper? How about receiving a customized one? Check it out