What is the attitude expressed toward life and death in Tennyson's "Ulysses?"

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Ulysses is old, world-weary, and coming to the end of a long, illustrious life. Far from enjoying his twilight years, however, he's feeling thoroughly bored and miserable. It's a huge comedown for a legendary hero and warrior to spend all his time at home with his wife, dealing with the tedious minutiae of governing Ithaca. He longs for those golden days of youth when he regularly took to the high seas in search of glory and adventure. Ulysses has always been a man of action, so any prolonged period of enforced idleness must feel like hell on earth.

Ulysses's general mood, then, is one of boredom, but he's also defiant. He still has enough of the old vim and vigor within him to contemplate heading back out to sea and exploring new worlds. He knows that he doesn't have long to live, but he's determined to make the most of his few remaining years upon this earth. Above all, that means keeping his mind and body active, which is good advice for anyone approaching the sunset of their lives.

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The poem Ulysses picks up years after the title character's return home that was the focus of Homer's Odyssey. Ulysses has been king of Ithaca for many years alongside his wife Penelope. After having struggled for so long to return home, he is now bored, an "idle king," as he puts it. As he ages, he becomes more and more aware that this sedentary life, despite all its comforts, is not for him. He was meant to roam and seek adventure. He decides to leave his kingdom to Telemachus, his son, who is better suited by temperament to carry out the administrative duties of a king. 

So the attitude toward death expressed in "Ulysses" is that death is an end. Rather than simply seeking to make his last years comfortable, Ulysses will strike out again (or at least he dreams of doing so), seeking new adventures, discovery, and hoping that "some work of noble note, may yet be done." So life is a search and a struggle that must not be abandoned even in (perhaps especially in) old age. 

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