Danny Hayes and Julian Sless
English 9 B
Alfred Lord Tennyson
Facing with many hardships throughout his life, Tennyson used “Ulysses” to express his feelings about “going forward and braving the struggle of life” (Napierkowski 277). Tennyson’s father’s death in 1831 forced him to return home to take care of his family’s needs. During this time he struggled from poverty and his two brother’s mental illnesses. Although he faced these problems, Tennyson’s outlook on life improved as he adjusted to his new domestic duties, regained contact with friends, and even published his 1832 Book of Poems. News of the death of his close friend Hallam struck just as things seemed to get better. The domestic problems as well as the death of a close friend lead to the outburst of Tennyson’s emotions expressed in a previously created character, “Ulysses.” Tennyson based “Ulysses” on the influence of mythology. He used many elements from Greek and Roman classics in his work. Ulysses appears in poems the “Odyssey” by Homer, where he demonstrates his lust for adventure refusing to settle down. Although Dante’s “Inferno” also portrays Ulysses quest for knowledge, the spirit of the poem has the main impact
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on Tennyson. He used Greek mythology “to declare, and bless, his thoughts to his satisfaction” (Guretzki). Mythology “added to the dignity and charm of his poetry…bringing it to a heroic, majestical expression, a lovely touch of reminiscence, and a seal of confident authority” (Guretzki).
As the Victorian era declined Tennyson, the representative of the Victorian style of poetry, opened a fresh post-romantic period in history by utilizing “Ulysses” to show that to successfully rule, there must be a connection between a king and his subjects. During the time of the initial Victorian age, Queen Victoria used her character and moral standards to restore the prestige of the British monarchy. In the poem,...