Q:

What is a summary of "Ulysses" by Alfred Lord Tennyson?

A:

The poem "Ulysses" by Alfred Lord Tennyson finds Ulysses in his old age, bored with his current routine, knowing that his son will soon take over his reign but unwilling to sit still and live out his days. He accepts that his glory days are behind him, but he remains "strong in will" to keep going.

Ulysses begins his monologue by acknowledging that he is accomplishing nothing by sitting home with his aging wife and performing the mundane tasks of running his kingdom. He does not want to rest from his travels because they were exciting and fulfilling. He speaks of his battles and their "delight." He was a part of these events, and they are now a part of him. He does not want to think of never doing anything exciting again. He then speaks of his son, Telemachus, for whom he has a great deal of trust and affection. He knows that Telemachus is different from him in many ways, but that is okay. He says, "He works his work, I mine." Ulysses then goes on to speak of his fellow sailors and how he does not want to see them stop just because they are old, too. He urges them to "Come, my friends, ’Tis not too late to seek a newer world." He acknowledges they are older and weaker than in the past, but there are still sights to see and places to go. He does not want them or himself to "yield" to the ever-encroaching years.


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