WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF THEIR JOURNEYS?The Victorian period lasted from 1830 to 1880. This era marks the climax of Englands rise to economic and military supremacy. The Victorians brought increasing efforts to achieve political, social, and economic quests to met changes made by industrialization. For example, characters in the poems Ulysses, Prospice, and Beowulf go on journeys to seek a purpose.
In Ulysses, a poem written by Alfred Tennyson, the main character is on a quest to seek fulfillment in his life.
Ulysses had before been on journeys fighting monsters and sailing unknown seas. He now sits at home being bored and wants some excitement. For example, Ulysses feels old and yearns for desire.
And this gray spirit yearning in desireTo follow knowledge like a sinking star,Beyond the utmost bound of human thought. (Ulysses, 30-32)He feels that it is not too late to seek a newer world. He wants to be happy and venture on to find new things until he dies.
In conclusion, Ulysses seeks fulfillment and happiness in life until his dying day.
Another character on a journey is one in the poem, Prospice. This poem is written by Robert Browning. The Latin word Prospice means Look Forward! and suggests Brownings attitude towards death. The characters quest in this poem is towards his death. He says he does not fear death, instead, he looks on to death proudly. For example he says,Fear death?- to feel the fog in my throat,When the snows begin, and the blasts denoteWhere he stands, the Arch Fear in a visible form,Yet the strong man must go: (Prospice, 1-9)Unlike Ulysses, this character is seeking death instead of life, but he also wants to be happy.
One character known throughout English literature on a long journey would be Beowulf. The poem Beowulf comes from tales told during the Anglo-Saxon period. Beowulf was a superhuman hero searching for revenge on a monster named Grendel. Grendel had attacked people during the night. Beowulf was a strong, ruthless man full of anger. For example, he gets one last blow in to Grendel as written in the poem:And there before him bereft of lifeStilled in battle, and stretched in death,As the struggle in Heorot smote him down.
The corpse sprang wide as he struck the blow.
The hard sword-stroke that severed the head. (Beowulf, 1065-1071)Beowulfs quest was successful and fulfilling.
All these characters went on some sort of journey or adventure to fulfill themselveds but all in different ways. Ulysses searched for life, the character in Prospice searched for death, Beowulf searched for revenge, and all three carried on their individual quests with pride, courage, and determination.
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