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Transcript of ^Ulysses - gfgc.kar.nic.in · PDF file ^Ulysses _-By Alfred Lord Tennyson The poem Ulysses is...

  • Prof. Sunitha H G Assistant Professor of English

    MCMCW, MYSORE

    “Ulysses”

    -By Alfred Lord Tennyson

    The poem Ulysses is a dramatic monologue written in blank verse by Alfred

    Lord Tennyson in 1833 and it was published in 1842. In 1833 he lost his best

    friend Arthur Hallam and it inspired him to write this poem. Ulysses known as

    Odysseus in Greek mythology was the king of the Ithaca kingdom.

    The poem portrays Ulysses as a resolute and heroic man, who is

    determined “to strive, to seek, to find and not to yield” at old age. After his far-

    ranging travels and exploration for eighteen years, when Ulysses returns to his

    kingdom he finds himself idle and restless. He yearns to continue his adventure

    and explore the untrodden world. The poem opens with Ulysses’

    acknowledgment that his life is monotonous despite him the king of Ithaca. He

    bemoans on the fact that he is wasting his time and life to rule the savage, idle

    people of his kingdom with unequal laws and they don’t know him at all. The

    company of his aged wife is also not helping him to come out of stagnation and

    empty feelings. He declares that;

    “I cann’t rest from travel; I will drink

    Life to the lees”;

    While reminiscing his old days, he claims that he found joy in every

    moment of his traveling even at the times, when he was suffering. He enjoyed

    his traveling both at both times when he was with his faithful sailors and when

    he was all alone by himself on land and in the sea sailing through rainstorms. As

    an explorer, he has a hungry heart to see and to know the world more. He

    reflects that he has seen and learned a lot about all the “cities of men. And

    manners, climates, councils, governments”. As a result, he has become famous

    and the world respects and gives honor to him.

  • Ulysses also acknowledges the fact that he felt delighted in fighting the

    Trojan war alongside his fellow soldiers. He feels all the places and people he

    has encountered have been changed including him. All that in the past have

    become experiences for him now and they appear like an arch to him. Through

    that arch, he wants to continue his exploration of the untrodden world.

    Ulysses exclaims that it is boring to stop and stay in one place without doing

    any activities. Here he compares himself to a sword that has been allowed to

    rust uselessly without using it in battle. Ulysses declares that bare breathing is

    not living and life afterlife would not be sufficient to do all that he desires. At

    the old age, very little time is left over and he is at the end of his lifetime. So he

    thinks that every little hour left in his life would bring new opportunities to

    explore the world. He feels that it would be disgraceful to sit at home, eat and

    pray to stay alive. His greatest desire is to explore the world and get new

    knowledge. He yearns to go beyond the humans’ limits like “a sinking star”.

    In the next part of the poem, Ulysses introduces his son Telemachus, who is

    the inheritor of the throne. He asserts his love for his son and applauds his son’s

    ability to carry out the responsibilities as a ruler. He says with patience and

    prudence, Telemachus will work towards civilizing the savage and idle people of

    Ithaca and will make them indulge in productive activities. As a ruler

    Telemachus; “Most blameless is he”. Because in the absence of Ulysses he

    shows proper respect and affection to his mother and will continue his offering

    worship and sacrifices to the Gods that Ulysses most honored. Hence he

    declares that Telemachus is well fit to discharge kingly duties whereas he is fit

    to continue his exploration of the world.

    “He works his work, I mine”.

    Then Ulysses while indicating the sea addresses his mariners, who

    worked and explored the world with him to gain new knowledge. He says that

    the sea is calling and the ship is ready to sail beyond the dark sea. He reminds

    his mariners about their joyful acceptance of both troubles and good luck in their

    previous explorations with all bravery and resolution. Now as Ulysses

    acknowledges both he and mariners have grown older but they are still capable

    of hard work and earn respect before “death closes all”. He urges to accomplish

    some great deeds before death takes them all. Because they are all the heroic

    men, who fought with the Gods in the Trojan War. As the night is befalling

    Ulysses urges his mariners to join him in the last voyage. Because they are not

    too old to explore the unknown regions of the world. He talks about his goal to

  • sail beyond the horizon before death takes him away from the world. He

    confesses that during their voyage their ship may get drowned in the sea or they

    may reach the Happy isles, where they can see Achilles the warrior. In spite of

    being old, they haven’t lost their heroic qualities. Their minds and hearts are still

    brave and composed to face any difficulties. Though they are physically weak

    and old yet they are the same men with strong spirits. In spite of humans

    destined to mortality and aging, Ulysses refuses to yield not only to enemies but

    also to time and age.

    “…but strong in will

    To strive, to seek, to find and not to yield”.

    Thus the poem ends with Ulysses’ articulation of his goal in seeking new

    knowledge and new worlds.

    Annotation:

    There lies the port; the vessel puffs her sail:

    There gloom the dark, broad seas. My mariners,

    Souls that have toiled, and wrought, and thought with me-

    The above lines are taken from the poem “Ulysses” written by Alfred

    Lord Tennyson. The poem is a dramatic monologue written in blank verse by

    Alfred Lord Tennyson in 1833 and it was published in 1842. In 1833 he lost his

    best friend Arthur Hallam and it inspired him to write this poem. The poem

    portrays Ulysses, the king of Ithaca, as a resolute and heroic man and he is

    determined “to strive, to seek, to find and not to yield” at old age. After his far-

    ranging travels and exploration for eighteen years, when Ulysses returns to his

    kingdom he finds himself idle and restless. He yearns to continue his adventure

    and explore the untrodden world.

    In these lines Ulysses is addressing his mariners after talking about his

    past explorations and about his son Telemachus. By pointing out the port, he

    says that the sea is calling and the ship is ready to sail beyond the dark sea.

    Moreover the gloomy darkness is approaching to cover the vast sea. So he calls

    out his mariners to start the voyage and these are the same mariners, who

    worked hard and explored the world with him to gain new knowledge.

  • “If”

    - By Rudyard Kipling

    The poem “If” is written by the India born British poet Rudyard

    Kipling in 1895. It was first published in Rewards and Fairies in 1910. The poem

    is written in the form of paternal advice to a son. The poem talks about a set of

    conditionals that we all should follow including his son to succeed in life and to

    be happy. The whole poem is written in a single complex sentence. Throughout

    the poem, the speaker puts on conditions as requirements to succeed in one's

    life. It is only in the ending the speaker talks about the achievement that one

    can get after fulfilling the conditionals. Overall the poem is an ultimate

    inspiration for everyone which tells us how to deal with different situations in

    life. It conveys how to be a good human being.

    In the first stanza of the poem, the speaker advises his son to

    keep calm when others are losing their heads. He also tells his son not to lose

    temperament even if others are blaming for their faults. Because losing temper

    doesn’t solve a problem rather it intensifies it. Hence keeping one’s head cool

    allows to think wisely and to solve any tough situations. In the next lines, the

    speaker advises his son to have faith in himself when others doubt him. But

    sometimes he needs to give heed to others' doubt and must try to find out the

    reason for their suspicion. This helps not to get demoralized or disheartened and

    not to do anything wrong knowingly or unknowingly. Along with that, he advises

    his son to work hard and wait for the result without getting tired.

    “If you can wait and not be tired by waiting”

    Because losing patience makes one lose many opportunities. In the next lines,

    the speaker advises his son not to indulge himself in lies or in hating others when

    they lie or hate him. Both truth and love are the ultimate universal things in the

    world. Along with this, a person should not s