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Analyse the ways in which 'Ulysses' and one other poem explore religious and philosophical ideas.

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Introduction

Analyse the ways in which 'Ulysses' and one other poem explore religious and philosophical ideas. Both 'Ulysses' and 'God's Grandeur' explore the themes of religion and philosophy in depth. Hopkins' 'God's Grandeur' is perhaps the more religious, and Tennyson's 'Ulysses' the more philosophical. Beginning with the former, the concept of 'God' is obviously a universally recognised figure of supreme leadership, albeit interpreted in different ways by the different faiths. Hopkins himself was a devout Christian, and this is evident in the subtext of his poetry. "The world is charged with the grandeur of God." Hopkins' introductory quote immediately presents the belief that the power of nature stems from God. In the next two lines there is a contrast in that Hopkins' writes that this power will both 'flame' and 'ooze' out. ...read more.

Middle

I think he uses this caesura to emphasise the destructive nature of human civilisation on God's Earth, and the way in that this has slowed the development of nature, in the same way that the caesura slows the poem here. Jesus Christ, preached values which were decidedly anti-capitalist, and so do many latter day Christians, evidently including Hopkins. Next, he exalts nature's resilience, where he states that 'nature is never spent;'. Here he is saying that despite human efforts to perturb it, nature is still pure and fresh deep inside the Earth, and that God's 'charge' is still present here, away from the destructive civilisations. Ulysses, however, is not religion specific, and more philosophical in its tone. ...read more.

Conclusion

The poem is written as a dramatic monologue, thus it is in a format to be performed by a single character. An element of philosophy deals with the notion of selflessness, or the lack of it in the case of Ulysses. Through the style of writing employed we can see the egotistical character of the King coming through. He devotes a full 26 lines to his own egotistical proclamation of his zeal for the wandering life, and another 26 lines to the exhortation of his mariners to roam the seas with him. However, he offers only 11 lines of lukewarm praise to his son concerning the governance of the kingdom in his absence, and a mere two words about his "aged wife" Penelope. Anthony Silkoff Page 1 27/04/2004 ...read more.

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