Who was Ulysses?
Ulysses was a famous hero of Greek mythology who travelled widely and fought many battles under the command of Achilles. He had an unconquerable soul and burned with the passion of adventure and knowledge. He was always ready to face the hardships of life and misfortunes with a cheerful face. Here he is seeking one great adventure of exploration and discovery before he dies. He symbolizes the human spirit at its bravest and strongest.
“Death closes all, ---" what do these words mean?
These words are uttered by Ulysses and they mean that only death puts an end to everything. Here he encourages his men to keep on struggling till the last breath. Though they are old but old age has its labours and honours, and they should do something remarkable before their death. Only death should put an end to ones struggle.
What does the writer mean when he says “not unbecoming men that strove with gods.”?
Here he refers to the old battles between gods and men, as described in Greek mythology. He and his mariners bravely fought many battles against gods and had victory over them. Here he reminds them of their bravery and tells them to show the same spirit because it does not suit men of such a past to behave otherwise. He says that gods are nobody to tell us what to do and we are the master of our destiny. We have the ability to shape our future according to our own will.
What does Ulysses want to do “ere the end”?
Ulysses wants to do some work of noble note. According to him, old age has its labour and its toil. Man should not give up struggle in old age because old age does not mean an end to work. It may slow one down but still one can do something noble.
How does Ulysses describe the “near end of life, the approaching old age, the youthful days and the adverse conditions”?
He describes the near end of life by saying “ the light begin to twinkle”, the approaching old age is mentioned by “the slow moon climbs”, the youthful days are mentioned as “the long day”, and the adverse conditions are mentioned as “the sounding furrows”.
Who was Achilles and what had happened to him?
Why was he called “the great Achilles” by Ulysses?
Achilles was a great warrior. His name has been mentioned in old Greek mythology as a demigod. As a great hero, he became a symbol of bravery. He died while fighting and his soul went to the Happy Isles where, according to Greek mythology, the souls of all gallants go. It is for his bravery that Ulysses calls him” the great Achilles”.
What does “the Happy Isles” mean?
“The Happy Isles” was the land of the Blest in ancient Greek mythology and religion. Great heroes were believed to go not to Hades, the underworld, but to the Isles of the Blest lying far to the west and out in the unknown and mysterious waters of the Atlantic. Achilles soul has also gone to the same isle and Ulysses is also hopeful that his soul too will go to the Happy Isles if he becomes a victim of the wild sea and fails to fulfill his ambition.
Explain “---, that which we are, we are;”.
Ulysses encourages the mariners to continue their struggle despite old age. Here he advises them that they should accept the fact that they have grown old and weak only physically; their spirits are still the same. They had faced great dangers in the past and had victory over their enemies. The same brave spirits will enable them to fight against all odds and make their way through.
One equal temper of heroic hearts
Made weak by time and fate but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find and not to yield.
In his address to the mariners, Ulysses reminds them how they bravely fought against their enemies in the past and never faltered. Their hearts are of the same quality and they share the spirit of bravery and heroism. Though time and fate has taken its toll but it has not succeeded in affecting their spirit. Their spirits are still young and they can still do “some work of noble note”. Old age does not mean an end to struggle; only death should put a stop to ones efforts. So as long as they are alive they must strive and fight against the odds and not give in to the enemy.
Who is addressing who in the poem Ulysses?
Who is the addresser and who is being addressed to in the poem Ulysses?
Ulysses, a great war-hero of Greek mythology, is addressing his mariners. They have fought many battles together and are on their last voyage. They have grown old and are losing faith in their strength. Ulysses is encouraging them that though time has taken much from them but much is still there. They may have become weak in body but in spirit they are still the same. They may not be able to do as they used to do but still they can do some work of “noble note” before their ultimate end.
What kind of men are they?
Ulysses was a famous hero of Greek mythology who travelled widely and fought many battles under the command of Achilles. He had an unconquerable soul and burned with the passion of adventure and knowledge. He was always ready to face the hardships of life and misfortunes with a cheerful face. His companions too are warriors who have fought many battles under his (Ulysses) command. They have now become old; however, their commander Ulysses advises them not to yield to old age but keep on struggling until death comes.
What great adventure is he proposing?
He is proposing “to sail beyond the sun-set and the baths of all the western stars”. Ulysses and his men are warriors. They have fought many battles during their youth; but now they have become old. However, Ulysses proposes to his men that he intends to continue his journey through life and go very far. He intends to fight against all odds and do some noble work. He is not ready to give up.
What does the poet mean by, “My purpose holds, to sail beyond the sunset, and the baths of all the western stars.”
Ulysses, in this line gives a clear message to his companions that he intends to sail into the waters of the sea to the west, beyond the horizon, where the sun sets, or till that point (endless) where the stars appear to sink when they set.
What does the line, “Come my friends, Tis not too late to seek a never world,” means?
This line shows Ulysses’ Impatience, to start the journey. He is eager to discover new places and urges his friends, to hurry up, as there is still time. “The lights begin to twinkle” meaning that old age may be approaching but their lives have not ended. It was still bright enough to start their journey. It also means that they are not too old to stop from embarking on another journey.
Explain the assertion that Ulysses “symbolizes the human spirit at its bravest and strongest”.
Ulysses is a real hero. Discuss.
Ulysses was a famous hero of Greek mythology who travelled widely and fought many battles under the command of Achilles. He had an unconquerable soul and burned with the passion of adventure and knowledge. He was always ready to face the hardships of life and misfortunes with a cheerful face.
Time and fate has made him weak; however this weakness has only affected him physically and not spiritually. He is seeking one great adventure of exploration and discovery before he dies, and he is encouraging his companions to accompany him on his last voyage. He intends to go on and on until he does some work of recognition. He is not afraid of death because in death he will meet the god of war Achilles, who is on the Happy Isle, the land of the Blest. Thus he stands as a symbol of bravery and strength. The poem in itself is highly symbolic. Ulysses symbolizes man in high spirit who is ready to fight his way through life without yielding to the adverse circumstances. The sounding furrows are the adverse conditions in the world which threaten our very existence.
Discuss the main idea of Tennyson’s lines from Ulysses.
Ulysses (“Ulysses” is the Roman form of the Greek “Odysseus”) proclaims that he feels compelled to live to the fullest and swallow every last drop of life. He has enjoyed all his experiences as a sailor who travels the seas, and he considers himself a symbol for everyone who wanders and roams the earth. Ulysses declares that it is boring to stay in one place, and that to remain stationary is to rust rather than to shine; to stay in one place is to pretend that all there is to life is the simple act of breathing, whereas he knows that in fact life contains much novelty, and he longs to encounter this. His spirit yearns constantly for new experiences that will broaden his horizons; he wishes to grow forever in wisdom and in learning. Ulysses deals with the desire to reach beyond the limits of one’s field of vision and the mundane details of everyday life. Ulysses cannot rest from travel and longs to roam the globe and explore the untraveled world.
Describe how Ulysses inspires his sailors to embark on a new adventure.
What message does he give to his men in his address?
He inspires his companions to embark on a new journey by reminding them of the old battles which they fought bravely and had victories over their enemies. They had even defeated gods. He tells them to show the same spirit and not falter because it does not suit men of such a past to behave otherwise in their old age. He tells them that although they have grown old, still they have sufficient courage to be up and about, and thus achieve great things before their death. To encourage them, he says that if they reach the Happy Isles, they might meet their great leader Achilles, whom they hold in high esteem.
What moral does the poem Ulysses teach?
What message does Ulysses convey?
There is no doubt that old Ulysses is a symbol of an ideal hero. The way he urges his old companions, to precede on one more journey of exploration and discovery, shows his courage and will power. He is a symbol for all humanity, at its bravest and strongest. Thus the moral and message of the poem "Ulysses" is that old age does not mean that one should cease to make efforts. There is no reason to regret. Time and old age might weaken one physically; however, it cannot weaken one's will and determination. Only death can stop one from struggle.
Explain the lines:
Death closes all; but something ere the end,
Some work of noble note, may yet be done.
Not unbecoming men that strove with gods.
The lights begin to twinkle from the rocks:
In the lines, Ulysses comments on the stage of death. He opines that the moment of the death brings an end to the story of man’s life. But before the emergence of such incident, man has a wide-scope to work. He has a good opportunity to leave undeletable impacts of his personality on the galaxy of heroes. Ulysses adds that a large part of his life is over. The end is at hand. But the final phase of life should not be wasted in rest and merry making. He turns downthe concept of “eat, drink and merry”. He adds that each moment of life is a precious gift of nature and it has to be properly used and utilized in chivalrous adventures and heroism.
Explain the lines:
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find and not to yield.
In the lines, Ulysses is thoroughly enthusiastic and warm hearted. He maintains that he expects his armymen to keep up their chivalry and heroism of their youth. The physical decadence in inevitable in the old age. The time at length, brings declination. But the courage and heroism are not dependent of vitality and strength. The strong will is a great force which is always generated by the desire for honour and glory. Man’s old age and physical weakness never hurdle his serch for glory and prestige. Ulysses asks his companions to strike against the noisy waves. It may ruin the enemy. But the more probable result of the encounter could be their own elimination. One would go on exerting himself in the face of certain death. “Viewing death warrant, man is not supposed to surrender. He would rather give tough time to death.” (Carlyle) One’s spirit and longing for honour and glory should go on till one’s death.
Explain the lines:
Push off, and sitting well in order smite
The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds
To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths
Of all the western stars, until I die.
In the lines, Ulysses inspires his companions to get ready. He asked them to give up lethargy and get alert to march forward. The whole army of retired soldiers is desired to encounter against opposing storms and calamities. Furthermore, Ulysses asks his companions that they should seek new adventures. He added that in search of new expeditions, they have to take upon themselves the task of exploration and discovery of the unseen regions of the world.