The Lotos-Eaters: Analysis

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The poem contains a choric song that forms the main part of the poem. In this song the sailors narrate that struggle is futile and they do not want to return to their home. They tell that the land of lotos-eaters holds for them an irresistible charm. The slow-moving streams, the gentle breeze, the smooth music of sea-waves, the echoes of dripping caves and everything else belonging to this place has a lulling effect. They want to merge themselves into this dreamy atmosphere. They think that everything in the world enjoys rest. Fruits and flowers grow and ripen effortlessly, free from worry and the necessity to work. Why should then the human race toil and undergo troubles being the best creation of God? The sailors, finally, give vent to their disgust for the world and for incessant hard work. They hate the ocean and think that it is futile to struggle against the forces of evil. They think that the gods are cruel to humankind as well as derive vicious pleasure out of their suffering. This type of view towards life leads the sailors to the conclusion that it is better to rest in peace than to continue their wandering. Inaction, isolation and detachment from society, forms the central idea of the poem. A mood of weary disgust with the world is reflected among the fellow sailors of Ulysses. They criticize life and look into it from a new angle. What is life? Is it not all futility and emptiness? What is virtue? Is it not all the fruitless struggles against evil, which is impossible to overcome? A question rightly arises here. Does Tennyson favour a life of escape from the duties of life? Apparently, he produces argumentative verses in favour of a life of complete rest and inactivity, but in a deeper sense his attitude towards such a life is ironic. Man is roof and crown of things, so he should not follow animals in the course of life. He ought to justify

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