‘Ulysses’ Essay

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This essay will attempt to offer a close, detailed comparison of the following pair of poems, Alfred Tennyson’s poem ‘Ulysses’(1842) and T. S. Eliot’s poem titled ‘Journey of the Magi’(1927). We will also aim to provide some discussion of in regards to aspects of period, form and genre relevant to these poems. Ulysses is a poem written in 1833 and published in 1842 by Alfred Tennyson preceding the death of his friend Arthur Henry Hallam. The character of Ulysses drives from the Greek myths of Odysseus. This character has been explored widely through literature. The poem therefore unsurprisingly contains historical context. As the poem begins, Ulysses has returned to his kingdom, Ithaca, having had a long, eventful journey home after fighting in the Trojan War. Confronted again by domestic life, Ulysses expresses his lack of contentment, including his indifference toward the "savage race" that he governs. Ulysses compares his restlessness and boredom with his heroic past. He contemplates his age and eventual death as is visible in lines 24-26 where he states "Life piled on life, were all too little, and of one to me, little remains" Ulysses expresses his longing for further experience and desire for more knowledge. His son Telemachus will inherit the throne that Ulysses finds burdensome. While Ulysses thinks Telemachus will be an adequate king, he seems to have little empathy and faith in his son as he expresses in line 43"He works his work, I mine" and the necessary methods of governing "by slow prudence” and "through soft degrees". In the final section of the poem, Ulysses turns his attention to his mariners and calls on them to join him on yet another quest, making no guarantees as to their fate but attempting to appeal to their heroic past he states: … Come, my friends, 'Tis not too late to seek a newer world. Push off, and

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