Examine how Ulysses can be seen as an escapist.

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I think that a fairly good case can be made for Ulysses as an escapist.  Ulysses is shown to be one who wishes to escape the condition of "life piled on life."  Ulysses' life back in Ithaca is one in which the daily mundane compels him to escape.  This life of domesticity is a realm from which Ulysses seeks escape.  There is much in the poem that shows his discontent for the social and domestic responsibilities that accompany life in Ithaca. For Ulysses, there is nothing binding Ulysses to his life back home.  He feels that Penelope is fine and that Telemachus is capable to rule Ithaca without his father.  In the absence of that which binds, Ulysses feels compelled to escape into the world of exploration and challenging elements that are set out on sea. It is here in which he can be seen as an escapist.  The idea of life being one in which Ulysses yearns "to strive, to seek, and to find and not to yield" are conditions into which he wishes to escape.   It is here in which Ulysses can be seen as an escapist, willing to go anywhere and do anything so long as it is not in Ithaca.

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