Characterization in Tennyson's 'Ulysses' free essay sample

An analysis of Alfred Lord Tennyson’s ‘Ulysses.’ This paper takes a different look at Homer’s creations redone by Tennyson in the Victorian Age.

The author of this paper takes a look at the characterization of Ulysses which Tennyson envisages as a more contemporary, earthly man, whose own restlessness matches the restless nature of Victorian society. He also discusses Homer’s characterization of Odysseus as a favorite of the gods. Tennyson portrays further human qualities in Ulysses through his lust for glory. Unlike the immortal god-like Odysseus, Tennyson’s portrayal of Ulysses as aged and mortal is the clearest example of his humanity.
Tennyson’s characterization of Ulysses brings a humanistic quality to Homer’s once god-like hero by depicting his earthen limitations of restlessness, selfishness, and lust for glory. The aged King portrayed by Tennyson in Ulysses resembles only a shadow of the great hero found in Homer. All of the god-like glory that set Odysseus apart and carried him through turmoil is brought to earth by Tennyson’s depiction of Ulysses’ human qualities.

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The former glory of Odysseus is recalled as a boast of greatness with the aid and direction of his gods absent. The reader discovers that however great Ulysses once was, he know possesses many of the same faults as ordinary men. The result is a human King facing death yet dreaming of glory.

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