Ulysses
Ulysses
by Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Ulysses Theme of Dissatisfaction

Let's face it, Ulysses is really bored. He can't stand just sitting around the house with his wife all day, eating and sleeping and settling disputes every once in a while. It would be like if you spent the entire summer traveling around the world and then had to go to your corner office where all you had to do was count your money and live in luxury. Yeah sure, it'd be nice, but wouldn't you get a craving for adventure every once in a while? After visiting all kinds of strange places, Ulysses has to go back to Ithaca where, since he's the king, he doesn't really have to do a whole lot. He's still in good physical shape, and he can't stand it that he doesn't get to put that body to use.

Questions About Dissatisfaction

  1. What do you do when you get really bored? Play video games? Go running?
  2. Isn't there some other way for Ulysses to deal with his boredom than going away possibly forever?
  3. Is it possible that Ulysses is just in need of an attitude adjustment? Is his boredom or dissatisfaction the result of his own outlook on life?
  4. Would you be OK with feeling bored if it meant happiness, security, food, and money?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

Ulysses' boredom is all in his head; he has responsibilities, and he can't just abandon them because he's bored.

Ulysses displays an ancient Greek hero's version of a mid-life crisis.

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