What is the picture of modern life in the poem "Ulysses" and what does the poem say about human existence?

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kwoo1213 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

One of the most relevant parallels to modern life is that selfishness that is in our society today. Although it is not a popular view, some critics have said that Ulysses is extremely selfish for leaving his wife and child behind for adventures in far-off places.  I tend to agree with this assertion as a mother of two children, which jades my view in many ways; however, the flip side of that is that Odysseus can also be seen as someone who is brave and someone who doesn't give up...someone who keeps pushing through life's ups and downs.  Also, another comment on modern life would be that Ulysses' attitude can reflect humankind's need for adventure...the fact that people seem to never be fully satisfied and must keep searching for ways to challenge themselves, etc.