Tennyson's 'Ulysses' is not much different from 'Lotos-Eaters' as both the poems depict the atmosphere of languor and inertia.All heroic themes in the hands of Tennyson are marked by elegiac spirit. Why is this elegiac approach to life so prevalent in Tennyson's poetry?
Dr. Ratan Bhattacharjee
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Part of the reason why elegy is such a big part of Tennyson's work is the Modernist time period within which he writes. Given the fact that a major theme of his work is the need to look back and revere societies, such as the Greeks, that have passed without any shot of returning, there is a natural mourning which is present in his work. The nostalgic strains of that which has past helps to create an elegiac mood in his works.
Aging is a sad fact of life that many men of ambition, energy and drive have to come to terms with, even today. Prime ministers have to step down, presidents may not be re-elected no matter how powerful a presence on the world stage they may have had. It always strikes me though, that the elegiac tones in this poem always miss out any sign of gratefulness to be back safely among the bosom of the warrior's family! He's quite happy to go back and fight ,if only he were younger.
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