They are Ulysses' enduring challenge to himself, and ultimately Tennyson's challenge to us, to push ahead with vigor and strength of will no matter how old or weak our bodies are. And this attraction excited the fantasy of the following authors.
Lines 18 - 21 The next four lines sum up Ulysses's existential dilemma in a somewhat abstract image. Tennyson loved the Greek myths. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia. Push off, and sitting well in order smite The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths Of all the western stars, until I die.
He wants to face every aspect of his life, visit places, meet people, listen to their story. Critics also note the influence of Shakespeare, particularly his Troilus and Cressidawhich also includes Ulysses.
Telemachus knows nothing of adventure and battle but will duly rule the kingdom because he is dutiful and ready to take over the household gods. This conversational manner, the language used and the subject matter of the poem leads to a sense that Ulysses is speaking on a very personal level.