Ulysses (poem)

Ulysses (poem)

"Ulysses" is a poem in blank verse by the Victorian poet Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809–1892), written in 1833 and published in 1842 in his well-received second volume of poetry. An oft-quoted poem, it is popularly used to illustrate the dramatic monologue form. Ulysses describes, to an unspecified audience, his discontent and restlessness upon returning to his kingdom, Ithaca, after his far-ranging travels. Facing old age, Ulysses yearns to explore again, despite his reunion with his wife Penelope and son Telemachus.

The character of Ulysses (in Greek, Odysseus) has been explored widely in literature. The adventures of Odysseus were first recorded in Homer's Iliad and Odyssey (c. 800–700 BC), and Tennyson draws on Homer's narrative in the poem. Most critics, however, find that Tennyson's Ulysses recalls Dante's Ulisse in his Inferno (c. 1320). In Dante's re-telling, Ulisse is condemned to hell among the false counsellors, both for his pursuit of knowledge beyond human bounds and for his adventures in disregard of his family.

For much of this poem's history, readers viewed Ulysses as resolute and heroic, admiring him for his determination "To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield". The view that Tennyson intended a heroic character is supported by his statements about the poem, and by the events in his life—the death of his closest friend—that prompted him to write it. In the twentieth century, some new interpretations of "Ulysses" highlighted potential ironies in the poem. They argued, for example, that Ulysses wishes to selfishly abandon his kingdom and family, and they questioned more positive assessments of Ulysses' character by demonstrating how he resembles flawed protagonists in earlier literature.

Read more about Ulysses (poem):  Synopsis and Structure

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Ulysses (poem) - Legacy - Literary and Cultural Legacy
... Eliot called "Ulysses a "perfect poem ... An analogue of Ulyssesis found in Eliot's "Gerontion" (1920) ... Both poemsare narrated by an aged man contemplating life's end ...

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