The Evolution of Inner Self from the Aesthetic to the Religious Stage in Tennyson’s “Ulysses”


  • Sabindra R. Bhandari Department of English, Prithvi Narayan Campus, Tribhuvan University, Pokhara, Nepal


This paper explores how the principal speaker Ulysses in Alfred Lord Tennyson's poem “Ulysses” combines the real spirit of wisdom and knowledge with action, following the ideals of Kierkegaard’s philosophy of the stages. The perfect blending of action and knowledge brings perfection to Ulysses’ life. He strives for his existence and inner evolution, which is a quest for real identity. His ideation is that the moment one stops to know something, one starts dying inwardly.  Ulysses, a great man of learning, strives for self-transformation, exposing the spirits of existential philosophy, choices, and the different stages of inner growth and advancement. Following the footsteps of Kierkegaard’s philosophy, he passes through the aesthetic stage, the ethical stage, and in his culmination of self-transformation, he attains the genuine spirit of the religious stage. Thus, it remains significant to view Ulysses, as a practitioner of Kierkegaard's philosophy in action, existence, and evolution, proving that when wisdom and knowledge come together, then there prevail glory, victory, and bliss. As a research article in qualitative paradigm, this aims to provide a deep insight into Ulysses’ evolution of inner self, exploring it from the perspective of Kierkegaard's philosophy of existence, choice, and stages.   

KEYWORDS: Aesthetic Stage, Ethical Stage, Evolved Individual, Religious Stage, Vitalism