IS ULYSSES A HERO?

The question of Ulysses' heroism depends on the definition of a hero. The Collins dictionary describes heroes as ‘someone especially a man who has done something brave new or good and who is therefore greatly admired by a lot of people' by this standards Ulysses more than qualifies for a hero however I believe a hero is that and more. A hero for me is a person who risks their lives for the good of others not for the fame and glory but for the good feeling. In my standards, Ulysses fails short of its mark, as he became a general for the fame and glory. The keyword is selflessness was Ulysses' actions are purely for good or was he after the riches.

In Tennyson poem Ulysses is an elder king much against his style of life. He accuses himself as being ‘idle' reflectively looking back on his life and looking at whether he has lived a full and useful life. He also accuses his people as being savage; this shows that he considers them crude and unruly. However, he may also be reflective to himself as being savage in that he had been a savage worrier and fighter in his time. In the odyssey, Ulysses and his fellow generals killed, mutilated, and raped thousands of innocent people and therefore were punished by the gods. This makes us wonder whether Ulysses is the hero he is perceived to be.

Having travelled for more than 2 decades it is not a surprise that he is having trouble adjusting to his new adventuress life style. ‘I cannot rest from travel' this shows that he wants to continue experiencing life to its fullest until he dies. Although he has travelled across many lands, he also wants to travel in human experiences too he is saying he cannot and will not stop wanting more adventure. In the general sense of the word, a good king should put his people's needs above his own therefore, Ulysses thirst for adventure might be viewed as selfish. However I believe a king should be interested in his duty to make any progress towards prosperity and Ulysses as reflected in the poem is rather lazy and does not appreciates his people. Despite having selfish tendencies, Ulysses is a good king he is not abandoning his people but leaving them a successor who is likely to be a better king than Ulysses ever was.

Like line 23 he says ‘To rust unburnished, not to shine in use!', this line has great connotations about the key to the poem, which is that Ulysses is stressing that life should never end. So important is the line that it is completed by an exclamation mark, this draws attention to the idea that Ulysses (and Tennyson) are shocked by people who do not experience life to the full. The actual line refers to the idea of something unused becoming rusty much like a house old object, which sits on a shelf collecting dust, as if life were a machine that has to be ridden or it will rot away.

Ulysses is a great man he restores peace to his homeland and its only natural for him to have an adventure and makes a good point that relates to any of us who keep everything in routine and not experience life to the full. We cannot fault a man for wanting to have an adventure. As a brave solder it is expected for a Greek heroes to create history by saving the day and perhaps Ulysses' adventurous side has never died. I admire Greek heroes because the ultimate success is leaving the comfort of your home to save the defenceless.
Personally, I believe Ulysses is indeed a hero by any standards. Sure, like any other man he has his fault and has made his fair share of mistake however he had done the time and come out the other end stronger once again risking his life for others even after being given a chance to stay where he dreamt about for years. I think Tennyson is a wonderful writer and this poem is brilliant however having learnt the original odyssey I believe it contradicts