ABSTRACT

Ulysses’ name is his burden and his strength.2 It is a fact that interrupts and underpins his litany of himself, supplying proof of his life’s achievements while at the same time implying loss. He has built his name as a monument to himself, but in old age, in Ithaca, the monument is all that remains. He has been reduced to his own great name. As he rehearses the events of his life to himself, his name swells to accommodate the ‘cities of men / And manners, climates, councils, governments’ (13-14) that he has seen and known, insisting on an identity utterly at odds with that of the ‘idle king’ to whom it now belongs and supplying him with both the will and the imperative ‘To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.’ (70).