Ulysses through Tennyson

There are lots of work in literature based on character of Ulysses, a legend character from Greek epic ‘Iliad’ but the most endearing is one I find in Alfred Lord Tennyson’s poem ‘Ulysses’. The poem, genre of literature I do not find to much of my interest but still this poem en lights inspiration as well encouragement in me. The poem begins with speakers declaration of boredom in his tedious life of The King, in which he finds himself confined.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 ‘little profits……………….                                                                                                                 By this still hearth, among these barren crags,’

He is bound by the duties of the King to rule the people by feeding poor and punishing criminals but these worldly duties does not amuse Ulysses as  he lingers upon his adventures life style he experienced in his travel during the war. (the Trojan war) . His quest to travel has been craftily composed by  Tennyson in following lines,

‘I cannot rest from travel: I will drink                                                                                               Life to the lees:

He further states how he had encountered different places, different cultures, different people in this travel. And as a soldier he achieved fame, therefore was treated very respectively for being a warrior and he enjoyed it all.According to him to breath is not life but always to search for something new.Once again the luring quest summed up beautifully by the poet in following lines,

‘And this gray spirit yearning in desire,                                                                                          To follow knowledge like a sinking star,                                                                                        Beyond the utmost bound of human thought.

At this stage he feels convenient to leave as his son Telemachus , is well capable of performing his duty as the King. Ulysses trusts Telemachus will rule very efficiently. The last section of the poem attracts readers more as he expresses his quest to travel somewhere beyond their imagination , he sees his vessel is ready to leave for the voyage with his old mariners (referring to his companions in war). They have witnessed hostile as well as optimistic situations, ‘the thunder and the sunshine’ together.Now even though he and his companions have become old he believes they have old age’s ‘honor and toil’. Death is nearby ‘will closes all’ but he still thinks there is much more left to explore.Following lines by Tennyson excel Ulysses’s never dying spirit,where beautiful imagery of moon urges him,

‘come, my  friends,                                                                                                                                ‘T is not too late to seek a newer world.’

Ulysses wants to sail beyond the sunset, there might be possibility that they will be washed down (unsuccessful) but still he wants to travel ‘until he dies’. The brighter possibility is that they might reach to ‘happy isle’ where they would be able to see the great Achilles.

Eventually like the great motivational and inspirational leader Ulysses is, he motivates his crew or friends by saying even though they are now old and weak their will is strong to try , to find, to seek but they will not ever give up. The last lines are highlight of the poem.

‘One equal temper of heroic hearts,                                                                                                 Made weak by the time and fate,but strong in will                                                                       To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

The poem gives us motivation never to say its late or never give up we must strive hard to achieve goals and experiencing new things in life.

who’s responsible?

While teaching English to 11th class, syllabus of State of Maharashtra I did come across very interesting chapter  named ‘Jamun Tree’ by Krishan Chander, the topic revolves around irresponsible or indifferent bureaucracy of india. The jamun tree falls in the lawn of the secretariat and people discovers that there was man under it. As mostly, we evident these kind of situations, crowd gather there, some people even try to remove the man trapped under the tree who’s alive.And we get insight into the work of beuocracy through further events.

The writer depicts his craft to present the situation vividly through satire.the men who were trying to assist the man getting out from under the tree were hesitated by chain of bureaucratic officials, first of all they needed permission from  under secretary, under Secretary to the deputy secretary and next, the higher authority of that department that is minister and as we anticipated they said the issue comes under agriculture department. These efforts take half a day, the next day there was rediculus reply from horticulture department according to which tree will not be cut, hence men on the spot decide to cut the man in two parts as he can be joined through plastic surgery! Then again the cycle begin report was sent to medical department, plastic surgeon comes there according to his report surgery will be successful but the only snag was patient may die!

Now it was the turn of agriculture department which states that lawn is of the industrial department. Industrial department handles the responsibility to horticulture department as it was fruit tree , which take whole day. Police as usual comes there but to chase crowd away. Then accidentally, they come to know that the man is poet, so poets come there ,even make him member of Sahitya Acadamy but do not remove him from under the tree. he was offered stipend for his family but they  can not remove him from under the tree. The issue then goes to forest department, which is again unable to take decisions, and the last authority  was prime minister , who allows the tree to be cut but the man under the tree was already dead by then.

The writer gives us very vivid presentation of how Indian bureaucracy is insensitive and indifferent towards human life for who’s welfare these departments are made for. The roads have pits and poor condition of travel who’s responsible for the accidents and the people got killed in them? construction department, traffic, suppliers of raw materials  corruption MP, MLA? Bridges constructed during British rule swept in floods numbers of people were dead,  who’s responsible? Buildings crumbles down made recently  so and so numbered people were dead who’s responsible? There are so many such issues for which the common people just lingered upon who’s responsible? The answers from authorities instigation is process , you will receive companionship  the unending process for common people!