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Is Ulysses a Hero? ALFRED LORD TENNESON

Is Ulysses a Hero? ALFRED LORD TENNESON

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Published by: Beth on Nov 12, 2009
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11/08/2012

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 Name
BETLEHEM S. FEKADE
Title IS ULYSSES A HERO?Teacher 
MR MIHA
Word count 766
IS ULYSSES A HERO?The question of Ulysses’ heroism depends on the definition of a hero. The Collinsdictionary describes heroes as ‘someone especially a man who has donesomething brave new or good and who is therefore greatly admired by a lot of people’ by this standards Ulysses more than qualifies for a hero however Ibelieve a hero is that and more. A hero for me is a person who risks their livesfor the good of others not for the fame and glory but for the good feeling. In mystandards, Ulysses fails short of its mark, as he became a general for the fameand glory. The keyword is selflessness was Ulysses’ actions are purely for goodor was he after the riches.In Tennyson poem Ulysses is an elder king much against his style of life. Heaccuses himself as being ‘idle’ reflectively looking back on his life and looking atwhether he has lived a full and useful life. He also accuses his people as beingsavage; this shows that he considers them crude and unruly. However, he mayalso be reflective to himself as being savage in that he had been a savage worrierand fighter in his time. In the odyssey, Ulysses and his fellow generals killed,mutilated, and raped thousands of innocent people and therefore were punishedby the gods. This makes us wonder whether Ulysses is the hero he is perceived tobe.Having travelled for more than 2 decades it is not a surprise that he is havingtrouble adjusting to his new adventuress life style. ‘I cannot rest from travel’ thisshows that he wants to continue experiencing life to its fullest until he dies.Although he has travelled across many lands, he also wants to travel in humanexperiences too he is saying he cannot and will not stop wanting more adventure.In the general sense of the word, a good king should put his people’s needs abovehis own therefore, Ulysses thirst for adventure might be viewed as selfish.However I believe a king should be interested in his duty to make any progresstowards prosperity and Ulysses as reflected in the poem is rather lazy and doesnot appreciates his people. Despite having selfish tendencies, Ulysses is a goodking he is not abandoning his people but leaving them a successor who is likely tobe a better king than Ulysses ever was. Like line 23 he says ‘To rust unburnished, not to shine in use!’, this line has greatconnotations about the key to the poem, which is that Ulysses is stressing that lifeshould never end. So important is the line that it is completed by an exclamationmark, this draws attention to the idea that Ulysses (and Tennyson) are shockedby people who do not experience life to the full. The actual line refers to the ideaof something unused becoming rusty much like a house old object, which sits ona shelf collecting dust, as if life were a machine that has to be ridden or it will rotaway.Ulysses is a great man he restores peace to his homeland and its only natural forhim to have an adventure and makes a good point that relates to any of us whokeep everything in routine and not experience life to the full. We cannot fault aman for wanting to have an adventure. As a brave solder it is expected for aGreek heroes to create history by saving the day and perhaps Ulysses’

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