(An Analysis of Ulysses in Tennyson’s Poem)

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Ulysses by Arthur Lord Tennyson has been called one of the greatest poems in the English language. It has been cited as a key motivator to the English people when their country was going through tough times, and spurred them on to make it back on top. So what could this poem have said that was so profound? Actually, Tennyson didn’t say anything about the English people at all. He wrote the poem after the death of his friend Arthur Henry Hallam, which affected him deeply and changed the way he thought. To begin to understand this, Glenn Everett will provide a little background. “He and Tennyson knew each other only four years, but their intense friendship had major influence on the poet. On a visit to Somersby, Hallam met and later became engaged to Emily Tennyson, and the two friends looked forward to a life-long companionship. Hallam's death from illness in 1833 (he was only 22) shocked Tennyson profoundly, and his grief lead to most of his best poetry.” So knowing this, what is it that makes this poem so great? To answer this, we will need to know about the protagonist, Ulysses. We will examine Ulysses from Arthur Lord Tennyson’s poem Ulysses for his purpose, his feelings on age, and his attitude toward life in general. Initially, Ulysses will be examined for his purpose in the poem Ulysses. What is it that Ulysses wants to accomplish? He has already completed all the events told of in The Odyssey, and is settled down in Ithica. What more could he want to do? According to Tennyson, it is this. “Push off, and siting well in order smite The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths Of all the western stars, until I die. (Lines 58-61)” He is not accustomed to easy living. Ulysses is growing re... ... middle of paper ... ... sea of life which tosses us as we wrestle against it. There we find the thrill and the meaning of our lives as we battle without hope of ever finding a home. For Ulysses, the struggle was the meaning.” Works Cited Chaudhry, Disha. "Critical Analysis of 'Ulysses' by Alfred Lord Tennyson." : Critical Analysis of 'Ulysses' by Alfred Lord Tennyson. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 Apr. 2014. Everett, Glenn. "Alfred Lord Tennyson: A Brief Biography." Alfred Lord Tennyson: A Brief Biography. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 Apr. 2014. Mantho, Marc. "Literary Analysis: Tennyson’s "Ulysses"" Mgmantho.files.wordpress.com. Wordpress, n.d. Web. 6 Apr. 2014. Messerly, John G., PhD. "Tennyson: Ulysses and the Meaning of Life." The Meaning of Life. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 Apr. 2014. Rukhaya, M. K. "A Literary Analysis of "Ulysses" by Alfred Tennyson." Bright Hub Education. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 Apr. 2014.

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