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Ulysses' mariners are both dead and alive. His dead mates participated in Trojan War and defied the will of gods. They are seen as brave men, who risked their lives for his sake.
His attitude toward his companions is somewhat sad, but he addresses them and remembers how they once were. Ulysses acknowledges their bravery, their age, and their past achievements, and he reminds them not to forget the same. He notes their great qualities and cites how the mariners are not really so much different from himself. He stresses the importance of their voyage, and he tells the men of its possible dangers...... and through this, we see an aged King driving his men forward to fight the bast they can.