Chapter

ULYSSES AND THE RAPTURE OF TROY

Cornelia Pearsall

in Tennyson's Rapture

Published in print February 2008 | ISBN: 9780195150544
Published online January 2008 | e-ISBN: 9780199871124 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195150544.003.0005
 ULYSSES AND THE RAPTURE OF TROY

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Chapter Four engages in a detailed reading of Tennyson’s “Ulysses,” described as the prototypical Victorian dramatic monologue. The first section, “The Character of the Homeric Statesman,” establishes the monologue’s persistent stress on the importance of the knowledge of Tennyson’s Ulysses, examining the poem’s many sources, and a youthful epistolary debate between William Gladstone and Arthur Henry Hallam on Ulysses’ responsibility for the ruin of Troy. The second section, “Ulysses and the Rapture of Troy,” explores the political implications of the character of Ulysses, suggesting that his powerful resonance with his immediate audience within the monologue, as well as with the wider British public, is due to the illusion of a democratic ideal of equality conjured by his monologue. Ulysses’ desire is to effect a “rapture” of his audience, just as he formerly effected the “rapture” of Troy, illuminating the destruction of the fabled city as the monologue’s subtext.

Keywords: Ulysses; dramatic monologue; Homer; Iliad; Virgil; Aeneid; Dante; Inferno; Gladstone; Hallam; Troy; Rapture

Chapter.  20942 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (19th Century)

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