• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Tennysons Poetry is defined by a desire to escape the world rather than engage with it. Do you agree? Explore in relation to Ulysses and The Lotos Eaters

Extracts from this document...


'Tennyson's Poetry is defined by a desire to escape the world rather than engage with it'. Do you agree? Explore in relation to Ulysses and The Lotos Eaters Ulysses and The Lotos Eaters are both poems characterized by Tennyson as a means of 'escape'. Tennyson uses the dramatic monologue in Ulysses as a device to convey the sheer emotion felt by the protagonist for the loss of 'adventure' in his life. This is quite evident in his metaphor; 'How dull it is to pause, to rust unburnish'd, to not shine in use', which is constructed to use language that would be used to describe a sword that had fallen into disuse, a sword being a motif of war and adventure but also constructed by Tennyson as representative of Ulysses, who fears that over time he will lose his effectiveness, akin to how a sword rusts. He also characterizes the relationship between Ulysses and his son, Telemachus, well, using apathetic language such as 'blameless' but not strong, passionate language that he uses to describe his yearning for adventure, such as 'with a hungry heart'. ...read more.


Another, potentially subtler, technique he uses is soporific imagery and phonetic patterns that tie in with the notion of dreams, alternate realities where anything is potentially possible and is therefore a form of escapism. The entire poem is constructed in this way, often opting for words-'languid', 'driveth' 'galingale' 'slumbrous' etc-that, especially when describing sleepy imagery, force the reader to slow down and contain particular stresses that gives the poem a form of hypnotic rhythm, relating back to sleep and escapism. In addition to his use of phonetics and rhythm, Tennyson includes various images that make the 'sleep state', and therefore the state the Lotus-eaters offer, more appealing. 'The charmed sunset linger'd low', 'like downward smoke' and 'than tir'd eyelids upon tir'd eyes' are all examples that possess connotations of laziness or sleep, and therefore makes a more attractive option as opposed to the 'toil' experienced by the rest of the world, enhancing the desire for escape. Ulysses also accomplishes this in a similar way, by contrasting the positive aspects of the world of escapism with reality and its negatives; a more appealing conclusion can be drawn. ...read more.


The Lotos Eaters is more clearly defined because of the contrasts set up between reality and the alternative, with the nature of the Lotus eaters 'liberation' from work representing a clear desire for escapism. However, it can be argued from a metaphysical standpoint that the nature of humanity itself is to work, and that absent of hardship is absent of life, the act of succumbing to the Lotus in the poem can sometimes appear to carry connotations of death and sinister imagery, an example being 'through the moss the ivies creep', which evokes images of parasitic and sinister representations of the lotus fruit. Another particularly effective method used by Tennyson to reflect the sinister nature of temptation and escape, is his change of voice at the end of the choric song, without resistance the sailors perform a subtle voice shift, joining the lotus-eaters with no strict narrative event as to when it occurs. These techniques could be interpreted as Tennyson trying to highlight the darker side of escapism, and in so doing discourage it, however when compared to the rest of the substantial poem, it seems to fit the broad view that the Lotus fruit represents a clear narrative metaphor for escape of life. Matt Robins ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Alfred Lord Tennyson section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Alfred Lord Tennyson essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    A later poet said 'Old men ought to be explorers'. What do you think ...

    3 star(s)

    Indeed Ulysses describes what he still feels he should explore in an interesting metaphor; 'Yet all experience is an arch wherethrough Gleams that untravelled world whose margin fades For ever and ever when I move.' It seems that the poet would approve of Ulysses as Ulysses realises that the undiscovered

  2. Peer reviewed

    Look again at Ulysses and write about Tennysons narrative techniques

    5 star(s)

    It also exemplifies the excessiveness of Ulysses' ambition, an excess that as the monologue progresses, can be seen to expand to encompass the boundaries of the foolish, the detrimental and the unattainable. However as in much of his verse, the main techniques that Tennyson uses to portray the ideas and themes of Ulysses' character are those of imagery and language.

  1. 'The Lotus Eaters' by Tennyson

    This is once again a prediction of the British Empire; completely opposite to the state imperial England was in during 1833. The state of paralysis is key in this poem. It shows that the poem is neither forward or backward looking yet each day progresses forward.

  2. Alfred Lord Tennysons In Memoriam contains many theological elements debating the confusion between science ...

    Tennyson opens it with a rhetorical question asking if our belief in an afterlife, or in this case Heaven, is based on the belief in God that we feel within our souls. It is not something that has been proven to us to cause the belief, but something that each Christian feels within his or her own self.

  1. One of the intriguing aspects of Tennysons Ulysses is the fact that he sets ...

    of h**l and meets Ulysses, who is being punished there for his deceitfulness, a fact that also may affect one's interpretation of Tennyson's "Ulysses" as being less than the "ideal" hero. Ulysses tells Dante about his final voyage and describes his quest to sail beyond the prescribed limits of the world at Gibraltar, the edge of the Mediterranean Sea.

  2. "Man for the field and woman for the hearth, man for the sword and ...

    Overall this poem is very focused on the male persona, the poem is structurally inconsistent which is likely to be a representation of Ulysses' muddled thinking (the poem is being thought/said by Ulysses). In my opinion due to the heroic and adventurous nature of Ulysses this poem almost indefinitely supports

  1. The poetic monologue "Ulysses" by Alfred Lord Tennyson

    in his own fantasies prevents his men and even the reader from questioning the validity of his ideas. Another of Ulysses' redemptive qualities is his courage. Although he was a fabled soldier in the Trojan War, he exhibits more courage at the time these lines are spoken.

  2. How does Tenyson describe the eagle?

    Tenyson describes the sea as being 'beneath' the bird and crawling, as if the sea is cowering before the bird, making the bird seem god-like. In line 5 Tenyson says 'he watches from his mountain walls'. Tenyson describes the walls as 'his' making it sound as if the eagle owns the mountains and its 'his' territory.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work