In the poem "Ulysses" by Alfred Lord Tennyson, is Ulysses a heroic or an unheroic figure?

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In the poem "Ulysses," Alfred, Lord Tennyson presents an old man who has safely returned from all the exciting, life-threatening adventures recounted in The Odyssey. He sits upon his throne, an "idle king" with an "aged wife" and remembers his days of glory. He considers his son with fondness and contemplates with approval leaving his kingdom "the sceptre and the isle" to Telemachus. Ulysses longs to set sail with his mariners for one last adventure. Acknowledging that death is near, he says,

Death closes all, but something ere the end, some work of noble note, may yet be done, not unbecoming men who strove with Gods.

To answer your question, whether in the poem Ulysses is heroic or unheroic depends upon your definition of heroism. In the classical sense, a hero is a person of bravery and strength who undertakes a journey and overcomes dangers for the sake of fame and honor. By this...

(The entire section contains 2 answers and 486 words.)

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