The character of Ulysses by Alfred Lord Tennyson VS that of Odysseus in Homers odyssey

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The character of Ulysses by Alfred Lord Tennyson VS that of Odysseus in Homer’s odyssey

  • Intro: Odysseus in Odyssey: Odysseus is a combination of the self-made, self-assured man and the embodiment of the standards and mores of his culture. Though a strong and courageous warrior, he is most renowned for his cunning (sharp intellect). He is favored by the gods and respected and admired by the mortals. Even the wrath of Poseidon does not keep him from his homecoming.

Victory motivates Odysseus. He wants to return home and live well in Ithaca; as a result, every step along the way is another test, sometimes, another battle. Now struggles to return to his kingdom in Ithaca: the most important thing for him.

  • Tennyson’s source of inspiration for his Ulysses:  Written in 1833 and first published in Poems (1842), the poem was written in the first few weeks after Tennyson learned of his friend Arthur Henry Hallam's death.

Tennyson reworks the figure of Ulysses by drawing on the ancient hero of Homer's Odyssey ("Ulysses" is the Roman form of the Greek "Odysseus") and the medieval hero of Dante's Inferno. Homer's Ulysses, as described in Scroll XI of the Odyssey, learns from a prophecy that he will take a final sea voyage after killing the suitors of his wife Penelope. The details of this sea voyage are described by Dante in Canto XXVI of the Inferno: Ulysses finds himself restless in Ithaca and driven by "the longing I had to gain experience of the world." Dante's Ulysses is a tragic figure who dies while sailing too far in an insatiable thirst for knowledge. Tennyson combines these two accounts by having Ulysses make his speech shortly after returning to Ithaca and resuming his administrative responsibilities, and shortly before embarking on his final voyage. 

Chaisson assumes that Tennyson’s speaker is the Ulysses of Dante's Inferno, which condemns him to hell for overreaching pride, rather than the main character of the Homeric epic. The justification for making this assumption was the statement by the poet's son that his father referred to Dante's, not Homer's, Ulysses.

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Poets tend to be based on mythology. He borrows the authority of someone like Homer and Dante.

allusion: implicit references to Homer and Dante. The figure of Ulysses represents a fighter, the archetypal traveler-adventurer who gains experience and knowledge. Dramatic monologue by somebody other than the poet speaking out in the present tense. What is the relationship between a poet and speaker ? the speaker could be a mouthpiece for the poet

 the poet  could be a mouthpiece for the speaker

something in between

  • Summary and analysis of Tennyson’s Ulysses: Ulysses is narrated by an aged Ulysses ...

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