In Alfred Lord Tennyson's "Ulysses-, a character that initially seems utterly bored with his circumstances overcomes his idleness and rises to great heights. Tennyson does a wonderful job of legitimizing the pursuit "to strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield- through his work. The reader senses a feeling of hope because despite Ulysses' complete dissatisfaction and boredom with life, he reflects upon his giftedness and accomplishments throughout the beginning of the poem, which as a result has an effect on his frustrated attitude and therefore on his outlook towards remaining stagnant versus striving forward. .
The poem is divided into two sections. The first half (up to line 32) presents Ulysses' deep frustration. The last half presents his final fulfillment. His change of attitude is not due to duplicity and fickleness, but to the fact that hope has been restored and that he will once again fall into in what he is gifted to do "adventure and possible battle. Through this heroic adventurers journey, Tennyson reveals that the Romantics' search of one's desire and calling in life is in fact worthy of pursuit.
In the first section, Ulysses is boldly realistic and truthful about his situation. Ulysses dissatisfaction and critical attitude towards himself and others comes across in the first stanza through his blunt honesty and frustration. He calls himself "an idle king- (l.1). From this, one senses that Ulysses' tremendous frustration is due to his lack of fulfillment in life. Ulysses' depression thus causes him to be critical towards everybody. This criticism, however, is at least partially justified. His comment about his wife being old may not be a criticism of her age, but of the possibility that she has lost her spunk and motivation and given in to old age, whereas he has not, and cannot be happy without striving for more of what life has to offer. He feels incredibly held back by all this.