• Good News

Yase Ebrahim


My favorite poem since i was a kid was the "Ulysses" which my father told me , "Ulysses" was written in 1833 by Alfred Lord Tennyson, the future Poet Laureate of Great Britain. The poem takes the form of a dramatic monologue spoken by Ulysses, a character who also appears in Homer's Greek epic The Odyssey and Dante's Italian epic the Inferno (Ulysses is the Latinized name of Odysseus). In The Odyssey, Ulysses/Odysseus struggles to return home, but in Tennyson's "Ulysses," an aged Ulysses is frustrated with domestic life and yearns to set sail again and continue exploring the world. Dante seems to condemn Ulysses's recklessness as an explorer, but in Tennyson's poem, there is nobility and heroism in Ulysses' boundless curiosity and undaunted spirit. Ulysses taught me a lot The central theme of “Ulysses” is that there is a search for adventure, experience and meaning which makes life worth living. Tennyson used Ulysses as the old adventurer, unwilling to accept the settling of old age, longing for one more quest. Tennyson also wrote this in memory of his friend Arthur Hallam. 

Let me tell you why Ulysses is my favorite poem Ulysses expresses frustration at how dull and pointless his life now seems as king of Ithaca, trapped at home on the rocky island of Ithaca. His wife is old, and he must spend his time enforcing imperfect laws as he attempts to govern people he considers stupid and uncivilized. In Ulysses's eyes, all his people do is try to store up wealth, sleep, and eat. They have no conception of who Ulysses really is or what his life has been like. Ulysses still yearns to travel the world like he used to do. As long as he's alive, he doesn't want to stop doing the things that, in his eyes, make life worth living. He found joy, he claims, in every moment he spent traveling, even at the times when he was suffering. He found joy both when he was with his faithful crew members and when he was by himself; both when he was on land and when he was sailing the sea through rainstorms. He has become famous throughout the world as an explorer who was continually traveling and yearning to know more. Ulysses reflects that he has seen and learned a great deal about all the places where people live, about their lifestyles, cultures, and ways of governing themselves. Everywhere he went, he was shown honor and respect. Ulysses also found joy fighting alongside his fellow soldiers, men he honored and respected, when he fought in battles far from home in the Trojan War. Ulysses feels that each person and place he has encountered has been changed by the encounter, as has he himself. But all these experiences have not satisfied his desire for travel; rather, each encounter has only whetted his appetite to see more of the world. No matter how much of the world he sees, there is always still more to see, and it is these unseen regions that he always tries to pursue. Ulysses exclaims that it is boring and unsatisfying to stay in one place and stop doing the activities that defined your life, comparing himself to a sword that has been allowed to rust uselessly away rather than being used gloriously in battle. Merely being alive doesn't mean you are truly living. Ulysses feels that multiple lifetimes would still have been too little time to do all he wishes to do, and he is almost at the end of the one lifetime he has. Still, every hour that he has left to live before he dies has the potential to bring new opportunities for action. It would be disgraceful, he feels, to sit tight at home and just try to eat and stay alive for a few more years, when, even as an old man, his greatest desire is still to explore the world and keep learning more. He wants to go beyond the limits of what humans have seen and known, the way a shooting star seems to go beyond the horizon when it falls and disappears from sight.

Ulysses then starts to describe his son, Telemachus, who will inherit Ulysses's role as ruler of the island when Ulysses dies. Ulysses affirms that he loves his son, who is conscientious and thoughtful about how he will best carry out his responsibilities as ruler. With patience and judgement, Telemachus will work to civilize the fierce, wild people of Ithaca and make them more gentle, and gradually teach them to devote their lives to productive civic activities. Ulysses cannot find any faults in Telemachus; he devotes his life to the responsibilities of his role, he pays proper respect to his people and his parents, and after his father dies, he will continue offering appropriate sacrifices to the gods that Ulysses most honored. Telemachus is well suited for the role of ruler—just as Ulysses is well suited for a different role, the role of explorer.

Ulysses looks out towards the port, where the wind is blowing in the sails of his ship and where he can see the wide, dark sea. He now addresses his former crew, the men who worked alongside him and explored the world and gained new knowledge with him. He reminds them that they always accepted joyfully whatever their travels would bring, whether trouble or good luck, and proudly faced every obstacle with resolution and bravery. Ulysses then acknowledges that both he and they have grown older, but insists that even as old men, they can still work do hard work and earn respect. Soon they will die and their chance to do great deeds will be over; but before they die, they can still accomplish something heroic, something fitting for men that once battled the gods. The people of Ithaca are beginning to light lamps in their homes; night is falling; the moon is rising in the sky; the waves of the sea are murmuring almost as if they are speaking to Ulysses. Ulysses urges his crew, as his friends, to join him on one last voyage—even now, they're not too old to explore some unknown region of the world. He invites them to board a ship, push away from shore, and man the oars so they can beat the waves; because Ulysses still has the goal of sailing past the horizon, as far as he can go, before he ultimately dies. He acknowledges that the waves may sink their ship; but they may also find their way to the place where the souls of the blessed go after death. There, they might even see their old companion, the accomplished warrior Achilles. Many of their heroic qualities have been diminished by old age, but they haven't been lost completely. They don't have the same strength or physical prowess they possessed as younger men fighting epic, world-changing battles; but inside, Ulysses declares, they are ultimately the same men they always were. Their minds and hearts are still brave and composed in the face of danger and obstacles. Their bodies have been weakened by old age, something all human beings are destined to face, but their spirits are as strong as ever. They remain determined to work hard, to pursue their goals and accomplish them, and to never give up.