Tithonus

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Literary History
September 25, 2012
Term Paper

Tithonus

Ever wonder what it would be like to have three wishes? I remember being a little girl and always believing in fairy tales and all of the magic that the stories illustrate. One wish that I would always dream to wish for was immortal life, as I’m sure most people off hand would. However, sometimes not all wishes are built up to be all that they seem. In Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s “Tithonus”, the Ancient Greek, lover of Eos was given the so-called “gift” of eternal life. As most people would see it as a gift, he reveals his most inner thoughts and feelings on his now eternal life. As Natalie Babbitt one wrote, “For some, time passes slowly. An hour can seem like an eternity. For others, there was enough” (Good Reads). Granted the power of immortality by his lover, Aurora, he was given the opportunity to live forever. What could possible be so terrible with eternal life? Most individuals would say that they could only dream of immortality, and to beat death in its race for life. However, Tennyson goes into great description of the suffering that Tithonus experiences. The poem, “Tithonus” is encompassed around depression, sorrow and misery. Negative images and metaphors are outlined through the gravest details. This is depicted to us straight from the first line of the poem, “The woods decay, the woods decay and fall” (Norton,1964). As followed in agony with “Me only cruel immortality consumes; I wither slowly in thine arms” (Norton, 1964). These lines exemplify the pain and suffering that Tithonus experiences as he comes to face his cruel new reality. To his dismay, he never thought to include the gift of physical youth as part of his wish. With that being said, poor Tithonus suffers with his image and becomes depressed knowing that his physically being will eventually decay with all of the other physical matter in this world. Throughout “Tithonus”, a message of a disturbed past taunts...
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