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Human's Pursuit of Existence

  • Date Submitted: 09/26/2010 11:40 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 54.9 
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Human’s Pursuit of Existence
        Lord Alfred Tennyson’s epic poem “Ulysses” is the monologue of a legendary ancient mariner that is reaching the conclusion of his life but still yearns to leave his kingdom and travel the seas embarking upon another new adventure.   “Ulysses” has numerous interpretations in which the unwavering theme deals with the issues of a purposeful life and mortality.   Ulysses can be interpreted as a person who is arrogant, restless, drive, heroic and adventurous.   To others, he could be seen as an old man bitter with the passing of his youth and dissatisfied with the latter years of his life still to come.   More importantly, “Ulysses” deals with the desire to overcome the dull details of everyday existence and to successfully triumph over the obstacles placed upon us in life.   Through exact word selection and the use of the character Ulysses, Tennyson expresses several important ideals pertaining to a human’s existence in which life is about the ability to live life to its fullest potential, embracing progress and understanding that change is inevitable, and the capacity to always seek new knowledge.
        Tennyson’s first ideal pertaining to a human’s existence is that a person must always continue to live life to their fullest potential.   Ulysses in a sense has created a heroic life traveling abroad consoling with kings and generals while traveling to “cities of men/ and manners, climates, councils, governments” (13-14).   Because of this, Ulysses feels compelled to live the rest of his life to the fullest and enjoy every single day that he remains to exist.   Ulysses expressed this sentiment when he stated “how dull it is to pause, to make an end, / to rust unburnished, not to shine in use” (22-23). Ulysses proclaims that it is boring to stay in one place and by staying in one place a person pretends that all there is to life is the simple act of breathing.   “I cannot rest from travel; I will drink / Life to the lees” (6-7).   From...

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