How is Tennyson's Ulysses a dramatic monologue?

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thanatassa | College Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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Tennyson's Ulysses follows the pattern of a few other poems by Tennyson in being written in the voice of a character in Homeric epic, but either from a viewpoint or perspective not found in Homer. In the case of Ulysses, the poem is narrated by Odysseus after he has returned to Ithaca, settled down, and found domestic life in the poor rocky island lacking in the grandeur and drama of his time fighting the Trojan War and returning from Troy.

Generically, a dramatic monologue is a stand-alone work written entirely in the voice of a narrator distinct from the author addressed to either an explicit audience with the reader understood as implicit audience or not having an explicit audience but being a "dialogue of the mind with itself" which the reader can be said to overhear. Ulysses conforms to this pattern, although it differs from Browning's dramatic monologues in that we sympathize with rather than distrust the narrator.


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