Homework Help

In "Ulysses," who will rule the island when Ulysses retires?

user profile pic

tiafaith9192 | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) Honors

Posted February 6, 2011 at 3:25 AM via web

dislike 2 like

In "Ulysses," who will rule the island when Ulysses retires?

1 Answer | Add Yours

user profile pic

accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted February 6, 2011 at 6:22 PM (Answer #1)

dislike 1 like

It is important to realise that Tennyson is using the Odyssey by Homer to write this poem. Ulysses is the Latin name for Odysseus, one of the Greek heroes who fought in the Trojan War and was actually responsible through his cunning and guile for conquering Troy and ending the conflict through his idea of the Trojan Horse. Homer's Odyssey tells the tale of the return of Odysseus back to his beloved wife and son, to take up his rightful rule of Ithaca once more. However, in this poem, Ulysses is now imagined as an old king, desiring one last adventure before his ultimate death. It is clear if you read the poem carefully that Ulysses plans to leave the kingdom in the safe and capable hands of his son, Telemachus. Note what Ulysses says:

This is my son, mine own Telemachus,

To whom I leave the sceptre and the isle,--

Well-loved of me, discerning to fulfill

This labour, by slow prudence to make mild

A rugged people, and through soft degrees

Subdue them to the useful and the good.

Ulysses thus presents his son to the population of Ithaca as a worthy replacement, as a man who will work hard at his job of ruling them and will patiently maintain stability and encounter every problem that could arise.

Join to answer this question

Join a community of thousands of dedicated teachers and students.

Join eNotes