Ulysses is the Latin name for the Greek hero, Odysseus. Many English books use the Latin rather than the Greek form of the name.
The difficulty in describing Odysseus is that he appears in so many different contexts, including Homer's Odyssey, Sophocles' Philoctetes, Virgil's Aeneid, and many modern rewritings of classical stories, including Tennyson's Ulysses, James Joyce's Ulysses, Lotus Eaters and Siren Son, and Walcott's Omeros.
The epithet used to describe Odysseus in Homeric epic is "polymetis" or "many-devising", a term suggesting that he is clever in many ways or clever about many different things. He is notable for devising clever (often misleading) strategems rather than tackling problems head on, and sometimes appears almost unscrupulous. His patron goddess is Athena, the goddess of wisdom.
Most stories about him emphasize his long journey back from Troy to Ithaca and his faithfulness to Penelope who waits for him.