The Odyssey and Ulysses

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The Odysseus we know from the epic poem The Odyssey is very different emotionally than the same character described by Alfred Lord Tennyson (under a different name) in his poem Ulysses. Tennyson's Ulysses is melancholy about the state of his home and wishes to return to the open sea, while Homer's Odysseus is happy to return home after twenty long years on the seas. Tennyson's Ulysses describes "how dull it is to pause, to make an end" and how he wishes for excitement, adventure, and "new things." Homer describes Odysseus as longing "for home…for the sight of home." As you see, Odysseus is homesick and eager to return home, although he knows his wife and son have aged, grown, and changed without him. He accepts these facts and presumably continues living with his family, doubtful of his son's ability as a ruler. While it is unclear whether or not Ulysses leaves his home once again, it is certain that he wishes to. He resents that his family has grown without him; as for his kingdom, he has faith in his son and believes him to be ready for the burden of power and responsibilities that come with ruling a kingdom. The two characters, while having achieved the same great deeds, have very different natures. The adventurous Ulysses is depressed at the thought of having to remain at home and never again experiencing an exciting and dangerous journey like the one that brought him home. The original Odysseus, however, feels long overdue for a rest and is happy to return to his leisurely, comfortable life and loving family.
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