In "Ulysses," what is Tennyson telling us, the readers, about Ulysses and his possible "bucket list?" What does he say about old age? How does he compare his son with himself?

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What Tennyson is telling us about Ulysses and his "bucket list" is that it's what you put into your life rather than its length that's important.

In other words, it's all very well to live a long life, but you haven't really lived it unless you've filled it with goals and achievements. Not yet ready for the pipe and slippers and frankly bored with the daily chore of ruling his kingdom of Ithaca, Ulysses takes to the seas once more in search of new adventures.

For Ulysses, old age is not a time for slowing down. Quite the contrary: it's a time to keep on moving, "To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield." Old age may have "his honour and his toil," and death, of course, brings everything to a close. But for someone like Ulysses, a man whose restless soul is steeped in wanderlust and an endless desire for glory and adventure, he sees only the opportunity for "Some work of noble note" that may yet be done.

Ulysses treats old age as something physical rather than spiritual. Yes, his body and those of his men may have been "Made weak by time and fate," but they still remain spiritually strong, strong in will; and it is this inner strength that will stand them in good stead for their forthcoming voyage.

Ulysses is very flattering about the abilities of his son Telemachus. Not only is it clear that Ulysses loves him, but it's also obvious that the old king believes that Ithaca will be in safe hands when Telemachus ascends to the throne. Above all, Ulysses is absolutely sure that Telemachus will prove to be completely successful in civilizing the wild, rugged people of this land.

In fact, Ulysses, who is bored rigid by meting out "Unequal laws unto a savage race," gives the distinct impression that Telemachus would make a better king than himself. That's because Ulysses is primarily an explorer, whereas Telemachus would be much better suited to being a king.

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