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Tennyson's RaptureTransformation in the Victorian Dramatic Monologue$
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Cornelia D. J. Pearsall

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780195150544

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195150544.001.0001

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ULYSSES AND THE RAPTURE OF TROY

ULYSSES AND THE RAPTURE OF TROY

Chapter:
(p.164) 4 ULYSSES AND THE RAPTURE OF TROY
Source:
Tennyson's Rapture
Author(s):

Cornelia Pearsall (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195150544.003.0005

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

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