Tentatively Unravelling Ten Lines of Tennyson's: "Ulysses"

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“Ulysses”; Alfred, Lord Tennyson (Ten Lines):
I cannot rest from travel; I will drink
Life to the lees. All times I have enjoyed
Greatly, have suffered greatly, both with those
That loved me, and alone; on shore, and when
Through scudding drifts the rainy Hyades
Vexed the dim sea. I am become a name;
For always roaming with a hungry heart
Much have I seen and known-cities of men
And manners, climates, councils, governments,
Myself not least, but honored of them all- (“Tennyson” 5-15)


I cannot be confined to a throne although I bear the title of king. Adventure is what I yearn for and what is in my nature. I look forward to living my life to the fullest and throughout all my past experiences I have ventured through them with many of my peers as well as gone through them alone. My adventures left me with satisfaction as well as great turmoil; however, I was able to share those memories with the people who enjoy the same covet for adventure. I find myself and my capabilities when I am free to roam around seeking for new undertakings. Because the thrill of adventure satisfies my hunger for acquaintance with the unknown world, I gain knowledge that I would never acquire had I remained in the expected position as a king.

“I cannot rest from travel; I will drink/ Life to the lees” (“Tennyson” 5-6)--- a noteworthy quote taken from Lord Alfred Tennyson’s, “Ulysses”, that generally epitomizes what the Tennyson’s poem focuses on. From this one line taken from the poem consisting of seventy lines, it is clear what the underlying theme is: lust for adventure. For further understanding the poem “Ulysses” is written with the intention to personify the hero of Homer’s Odyssey, Odysseus. The Latin origin for Odysseus is in...

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...is comparing life to the indulgence of a drink. Furthermore, he is corresponding this to being able to live life to the fullest and enduring life one adventure at a time.
What is provided is an analysis of the chosen ten lines, but cannot amount to the summation of figures of speech, connotations and symbols all throughout the poem. Even so, within merely ten lines of Tennyson’s “Ulysses”, the reader is capable of apprehending the gist of the poem. Through thorough usage of literary devices, Tennyson is able to enrich the poem’s structure as well as the overall theme meant to be depicted.

1. “Enjambment.”Merriam-Webster.Merriam-Webster,n.d.Web.09May2014.

2. Lord Tennyson, Alfred. "Ulysses." Backpack Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, Drama, and Writing. Ed. X. J. Kennedy and Dana Gioia. 4th ed. New York: Longman, 2012. 639-640. Print.

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