Herosim Heroism And How It Is Described In The Two Specified Poems.

1384 words - 6 pages

HeroismHeroism has been defined very differently through out history and even to this day it takes on different views. People view a heroic person as someone who is strong, brave and self-less, daring and dependable. Tennyson defines heroism in a classical context, in which Ulysses is portrayed as a man with passion for adventure and a man who wants to fight many battles and explore many seas with his mariners. Tennyson's Ulysses is an individual who yearns for knowledge and self fulfillment. The notion one gets from reading "Ulysses" by Tennyson is that Ulysses is a heroic man who is known to all, is strong and brave and has fought many battles. The characteristics of Ulysses described by Tennyson fits in what people perceive as a heroic person, because people often believe that heroism has to do with physical strength and ability. In comparison to Tennyson's "Ulysses," Millay portrays Penelope, Ulysses' wife as the true hero through her poem "An Ancient Gesture." Millay describes Penelope as a wife who endured difficult times and waited patiently for her husbands return. Millay's Penelope is a woman who holds inner strength, will power, loyalty and wisdom. By reading Millay's poem one gets this notion that heroism is not really about physical strength and abilities, and that heroism goes beyond what meets the eye.In "Ulysses," Tennyson talks about Ulysses journey back to Ithaca, where he fights in many battles and sails across dark broad seas. As said "Drunk delight of battle with my peers, far on the ringing plains of windy troy," (line 16, 17) is implying that Ulysses enjoyed fighting in battles and that he wouldn't mind doing it again. It is also mentioned in "Ulysses," that Ulysses encountered bad stormy weather, "There gloom the dark, broad seas" (line 45). In the preceding examples Tennyson is implying that Ulysses was a brave and strong man, who encountered great dangers, and yet he survived and is willing to go through all of these dangerous situations once again as if he has nothing to fear. Although this may seem heroic to a lot of people, one has to contemplate on what Millay's Penelope went through when she was left behind all alone and had to raise her son Telemachus who was mentioned in "Ulysses," as a person who is to fulfill Ulysses role as the ruler of the island.Millays' Penelope is a faithful wife who tolerated difficult times and weaved all day and un weaved all night, as if to prolong time so her husband would return home. As mentioned in "An Ancient Gesture," Penelope truly cried. It is said in the poem, "And your husband has been gone, and you don't know where, for years, suddenly you burst into tears." (Line 7, 8) Millay is portraying a heroic woman, who is strong within but also passionate, not of battles and dark broad seas, but of her husband Ulysses.Comparing Tennyson's "Ulysses" with Millay's " An Ancient Gesture," one may get this notion that Millay's Penelope went through difficult times only to be reunited with...

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