Tennyson contrasts Ulysses and his son, Telemachus, in the poem “Ulysses.” While Ulysses is a free spirit who longs for adventure, his son is a fixed figure who does not have that same restlessness. Ulysses is an aging man who wishes to have adventure during the little time he has left in life. He is accustomed to travel, so staying home and ruling the people is not his idea of life. His son, Telemachus, on the other hand, is a young man who does not have that restless spirit.
Telemachus, according to his father, is a smart and caring person who will stay and be a good king. He will be gentle with the “savage” people and teach them to be more civilized. Telemachus has the patience to work with people, and Ulysses is confident that he will succeed when the kingship is turned over to him.
Ulysses is quite honest that he has never been able to tame the people the way he anticipates Telemachus will. One of his complaints is that he rules this “savage race” which takes what he gives...
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