Ulysses Questions and Answers
by Alfred, Lord Tennyson

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To whom is Ulysses speaking in "Ulysses"?

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The speaker Ulysses (the Roman name for "Odysseus") delivers a reflection on old age and mortality to other elderly veterans who may have fought with him in the Trojan wars. His reflection culminates in a rousing speech intended to convince this same audience of warriors to take hold of life again and to find one last great adventure. Consider the following passage:

Free hearts, free foreheads—you and I are old;
Old age hath yet his honour and his toil;
Death closes all: but something ere the end,
Some work of noble note, may yet be done,
Not unbecoming men that strove with Gods.
Death is inevitable in this poem, but he is suggesting here that there is a better way to spend the last bit of his life. Rather than waiting at home to die, unhappy and feeble, the former warriors should set out on a new adventure, knowing that they will not return. As a previous answer has pointed out, Tennyson has taken liberties with the story of The Odyssey , because all of Odysseus's crew was killed on their...

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