What Are the Figures of Speech Used in the Poem “Ulysses” by Alfred Lord Tennyson?
The poet Alfred Lord Tennyson uses several figures of speech throughout his poem “Ulysses.” The narrator Ulysses describes himself as “roaming with a hungry heart,” which is a metaphor comparing himself to a predatory animal. The poem uses a metaphor to compare enjoying battle to drinking by saying, “And drunk delight of battle with my peers.”
The narrator also compares living life to drinking, when he says, “I will drink / Life to the lees,” which is an old version of “living life to the fullest.” The poem personifies the sea and a group of stars called the Hyades by saying, “the rainy Hyades / Vext the dim sea,” giving human attributes to non-human objects. The poem has a simile in the line “To follow knowledge like a sinking star,” which compares the pursuit of knowledge to using a star as a guide as sailors did. The poem uses the concept of night as a metaphor for his own death by describing the onset of night and appearance of the stars. The narrator of the poem refers to his sailors as “souls,” which is a synecdoche, because it uses a part to stand in for the whole of the referred-to objects.