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A Stylistic Analysis of “Ulysses” by Alfred Tennyson

Jeremiah Z. Reston
Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education Major in English
University of Southeastern Philippines
In October of 1833, Alfred Tennyson learned of the inconvenient demise of his dear
companion, Arthur Henry Hallam. Hallam's passing crushed Tennyson; after seventeen years he
composed a long poem about it brought in Memoriam. In the quick repercussions of the
catastrophe which motivated him to create his poem "Ulysses."

Tennyson's ballad wires both Homer and Dante's adaptations of the story; in the lyric,
Ulysses has made it home (Homer), yet he needs to go cruising far and wide once more (Dante).
The lyric is a long monolog talked by Ulysses specifying how exhausted he is in Ithaca (an island
off the shore of Greece) and how he needs to get as much out of life as he can.

Tennyson's introduction of the Ulysses legend reflects somewhat his own craving to get
over Hallam's passing and continue living; it wasn't sufficient for Tennyson to accomplish a
condition of simplicity and serenity (like Ulysses did when he returned to Ithaca). He likewise
needed to continue living, taking the two its high points and low points in walk similarly as Ulysses.
In fact, Tennyson broadly guaranteed that the lyric portrayed to some degree his own "need of
going ahead and overcoming the battle of life" after his companion's demise.

Initial Reading.

The poem is about a king that is tired and bored of a kingdom he rules. The poem is
written in an iambic pentameter which adds intensity to the poem; it gives a phenomenon of
desperation like one is gasping for air at every syllable. The choice of words used in the prose
unique in nature as it is similar to what Robert Browning would write and other poets would do the

The poem is written in a dramatic dialogue which at first does not reveals the character that
is speaking but later on, as the poem progresses reveals that it is in fact Ulysses who is speaking.

The poem talks about adventure, the sensation of life, the things you that gives you delight.
For Ulysses his life isn’t worth to be just a ruler of a kingdom, he wants the whole world to be his
oyster. The things he does despite on his age challenges the readers to pursue what they dream of,
this stirs the passion inside them to pursue what they haven’t pursued in the past, to live life
without regrets.

This initial reading will be proven by facts that will be laid out in the sections as follows:
Results and Discussion

Linguistic Features of Alfred Tennyson’s “Ulysses”

Phonetic Features. The text is a poem, it does not have a rhyme scheme but it has the
same elements as other poems possesses such as meter, alliteration, lines, stanza, figurative
language, etc. The poem is written in an iambic pentameter which follows the same rhythm of the
natural flow of the English language which makes the poem easy to be read by audiences. There is
also an excessive use of punctuation mark /,/ which makes the poem less breathtaking to read but
these pauses gives emphasis to words that it precedes. The poem is underwhelming to read at the
first lines and stanza but it is changed dramatically on the latter part of the poem.

Grammatical Features. The poem is introduced by a well-known Greek legend it's nothing
unexpected that references to Greek folklore proliferate. Ulysses alludes a few times to the Trojan
War and notices a few fanciful tourist spots so as to pass on exactly how hungry he is for new
experiences. All the more explicitly, Ulysses' references to Greek folklore help us to remember his
chivalrous past while likewise giving us a feeling of the (specific expansive) extent of his future

Lines 16-17: Ulysses depicts how he delighted in battling on the "fields" of Troy, an
antiquated city situated in what is currently Northwestern Turkey.

Line 33: Ulysses acquaints us with his child, Telémakhos, a figure who shows up in
Homer's Odyssey, an epic ballad that depicts Ulysses' (Odysseus') long adventure home.

Line 53: Ulysses alludes to himself and his kindred sailors as men that "endeavored with
Gods." During the Trojan War, the divine beings – Athena, Ares, Venus, and so forth –
habitually partook in fight.

Lines 63-4: Ulysses recommends that on the off chance that he and his companions kick
the bucket, they may visit the "Upbeat Isles," a kind of Elysium for saints and other people
who lived high-minded lives. He suggests that Achilles – the best of the Greek saints who
battled at Troy – dwells there.

Ulysses has completed a considerable measure of voyaging; it took him ten years to return
home from Troy, which implies he's had a whole decade to visit a mess of spots. Clearly, those ten
years weren't sufficient in light of the fact that all he discusses is leaving home once more. It's not
by any means clear whether Ulysses needs to visit an explicit place or on the off chance that he
simply needs to go for the wellbeing of its own. Perhaps he just likes the smell of the sea air. In any
case, he needs to escape.
Line 6: Ulysses clarifies that he can't quit heading out on the grounds that he needs to take
advantage of life.

Lines 9-11: Ulysses portrays storms at as coming about because of the Hyades "vexing the
ocean." "Vex" intends to agitate, blend up, inconvenience; ascribing human activities to a
non-living thing (the Hyades) is called representation.

Lines 12-15: Ulysses reveals to us that he's visited various spots with various governments,
individuals, nourishments, and so forth. He depicts himself as some sort of savage creature,
"wandering with an eager heart." Because he doesn't state "I resembled a lion" or "I
meandered similarly as a lion may," this is an illustration.

Lines 19-21: Ulysses analyzes life to a curve – that is a representation again – and clarifies
that the "untravelled world" (demise; places he hasn't encountered) sparkles through it. The
"untravelled world" is compared to some sort of planet or iridescent world, which implies
this is additionally an analogy.

Lines 44-45: Ulysses guides our thoughtfulness regarding the "port," where the Mariners are
setting up the ship. The ship can't "puff" it’s very own sail; the breeze is most likely doing it.
Ascribing human qualities to non-living articles is exemplification.

Line 46: Ulysses alludes to his "sailors" as "spirits." The "spirit" is a piece of the body;
utilizing a section (the spirit) to remain in for the entire (the Mariners) is called synecdoche.

Lines 56-7: Ulysses tells his buddies that despite the fact that they're old, regardless they
have sufficient energy to visit places they haven't just observed. Ulysses most likely doesn't
have an explicit place as a primary concern so "a more up to date world" is remaining in for
a large group of potential spots he may visit; this is another case of synecdoche.

Lines 58-9: Ulysses admonishes his sailors to set sail; the expression "destroy/the sounding
wrinkles" analyzes the demonstration of paddling to hitting or striking something; hitting
something that makes a sound is here a similitude for paddling.

Lines 60-61: Ulysses says he plans to cruise "past the dusk," which is another method for
saying he means to cruise past the known universe. "Past the dusk" is an illustration.

Before the compass was created, mariners utilized the stars to control them. Ulysses has
completed a considerable measure of cruising, so it's nothing unexpected that stars come up a few
times in the ballad. The stars in this sonnet, be that as it may, are continually accomplishing more
than looking beautiful; they have the ability to influence things on earth, and they're likewise
convenient as similitudes for Ulysses' encounters and wants.
Lines 10-11: Ulysses portrays how the "stormy Hyades," a gathering of stars in the group of
stars Taurus, caused storms adrift. Obviously, the stars didn't truly "vex" the ocean; Ulysses
gives a human ascribe to a non-human question, which is called embodiment.

Line 20: Ulysses looks at the "untravelled world" to a sparkling item. In spite of the fact that
he doesn't consider it a star, the way that it's contrasted with some sort of heavenly protest
"shining" out in space sort of makes one think about a star. Goodness, and since the
"untravelled world" isn't generally a star, the shining item or planet is a similitude for that

Line 29: Ulysses says it would be "detestable" if he somehow managed to go through three
years accumulating supplies and essentially doing nothing. He says "three suns" (the sun is
actually a star), by which he apparently implies three finish transformations of the earth
around the sun.

Line 31: Ulysses here alludes to a "sinking star," just it's not clear whether that star is simply
the information he's chasing, or. In any case, he says "like a sinking star," which implies this
is an analogy.

Line 54-5: Ulysses depicts the beginning of the night and the presence of the stars. Here,
the portrayal of night serves as Ulysses' appearance all alone drawing closer "night," his very
own demise. The finish of multi-day is an analogy for death in this entry.

Lines 60-1: Ulysses portrays how the stars rest in a waterway that the Greeks accepted
encompassed the earth. He specifies the "showers" of the stars so as to pass on how a long
ways past the realized world he needs to travel.

Semantic Features. The poem finishes with Ulysses triumphantly reporting his goal to
cruise off again on yet more undertakings. In the wake of being far from home for a long time
while battling in the Trojan War, and afterward taking ten years to get back home to the island of
Ithaca to his family (having numerous undertakings en route, which Homer expounds on in the
Odyssey), Ulysses/Odysseus feels peevish at home. The non-military personnel's life isn't for him:
he is made for the fight to come and experience and voyaging (despite the fact that, in the Odyssey,
he plainly loathes going on the ocean), and will never be substance to be the stay-at-home lord with
a spouse and child, experienced whatever is left of his years on Ithaca and getting a charge out of
'the tranquil life'.

Tennyson once commented that 'Ulysses' was 'composed under the feeling of misfortune
and that all had passed by, however that still life must be battled out as far as possible.' specifically,
the 'feeling of misfortune's Tennyson was adapting to (and scarcely at that) was the demise of
Arthur Henry Hallam, his college companion from their understudy days at Cambridge, who had
dropped down dead, matured only 22, in 1833. Surely, Tennyson guaranteed that 'Ulysses' was
'more composed with the sentiment of his misfortune upon me than numerous ballads In
Memoriam.' In Memoriam was Tennyson's incredible requiem for his companion, however
'Ulysses' had its foundations much more immovably in Tennyson's private pain for his companion.

We have to shoulder at the top of the priority list Tennyson's comments in any
investigation of 'Ulysses'. An editorial on the ballad that fails to address the job that Hallam's
demise had in motivating this sonnet about valor and battling on, and battling notwithstanding
when one individual sees no reason for such things since all that made a difference has been lost, is
probably going to miss the genuine message of 'Ulysses': that however we may by and by be 'set
aside a few minutes and destiny' we should stay 'solid in will' and, in the expressions of Churchill,
'KBO' (keep b**gering on).


Stylistic Analysis. The speaker of the poem, Ulysses tries to imply that despite of his old
age, he still pursued what he wanted to do and it is to travel the world and to become a part of it.
He made the world his own, not conquering kingdoms after kingdoms but participating on things
that he isn’t used to. He immersed himself into different culture, learned from them and become
one of them.

To my understanding, the author implies that no matter how old are you or no matter what
you are you should never stop yourself or limit yourself to the things that hinders you to achieve
your dreams and goals in life. Tennyson implies that even though you rule everything yet you don’t
achieve the greatest achievement you wanted, you will always feel empty and hollow inside.

In conclusion, the use of stylistic analysis to further understand and prove the hypothesis
made by me is useful and was productive to the actual outcome of it. This shall strengthen the
things that I have elaborated upon my initial reading.
Artifact of the Study

By Alfred, Lord Tennyson

It little profits that an idle king,

By this still hearth, among these barren crags,
Match’d with an aged wife, I mete and dole
Unequal laws unto a savage race,
That hoard, and sleep, and feed, and know not me.

I cannot rest from travel: I will drink

Life to the lees: All times I have enjoy’d
Greatly, have suffer’d greatly, both with those
That loved me, and alone, on shore, and when
Thro’ scudding drifts the rainy Hyades
Vext the dim sea: I am become a name;
For always roaming with a hungry heart
Much have I seen and known; cities of men
And manners, climates, councils, governments,
Myself not least, but honour’d of them all;
And drunk delight of battle with my peers,
Far on the ringing plains of windy Troy.
I am a part of all that I have met;
Yet all experience is an arch wherethro’
Gleams that untravell’d world whose margin fades
For ever and forever when I move.
How dull it is to pause, to make an end,
To rust unburnish’d, not to shine in use!
As tho’ to breathe were life! Life piled on life
Were all too little, and of one to me
Little remains: but every hour is saved
From that eternal silence, something more,
A bringer of new things; and vile it were
For some three suns to store and hoard myself,
And this gray spirit yearning in desire
To follow knowledge like a sinking star,
Beyond the utmost bound of human thought.
This is my son, mine own Telemachus,
To whom I leave the sceptre and the isle,—
Well-loved of me, discerning to fulfil
This labour, by slow prudence to make mild
A rugged people, and thro’ soft degrees
Subdue them to the useful and the good.
Most blameless is he, centred in the sphere
Of common duties, decent not to fail
In offices of tenderness, and pay
Meet adoration to my household gods,
When I am gone. He works his work, I mine.

There lies the port; the vessel puffs her sail:

There gloom the dark, broad seas. My mariners,
Souls that have toil’d, and wrought, and thought with me—
That ever with a frolic welcome took
The thunder and the sunshine, and opposed
Free hearts, free foreheads—you and I are old;
Old age hath yet his honour and his toil;
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:
The long day wanes: the slow moon climbs: the deep
Moans round with many voices. Come, my friends,
’Tis not too late to seek a newer world.
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.
It may be that the gulfs will wash us down:
It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles,
And see the great Achilles, whom we knew.
Tho’ much is taken, much abides; and tho’
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are;
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.
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