Tithonus Essay

Topics: Death Pages: 2 (490 words) Published: April 20, 2008
Have you ever wanted something, and then you end up wishing you never got it in the first place? “Be careful what you wish for.” The poem “Tithonus” by Alfred, Lord Tenneyson provides an excellent example of the lesson conveyed in this phrase. Tithonus learns a very hard lesson because of his greed. This lesson stays with him for the rest of eternity. He thinks that being immortal will bring him joy, when all it brings him is sorrow and grief.

A long time ago Tithonus asks Aurora, the goddess of dawn, to give him immortality so he can escape death and be with her. They are both in love with each other, and Tithonus wants to spend the rest of his life with her. What he does not realize is that even though he can not die, he can still grow old. Tithonus is unlike gods and goddesses because he cannot renew himself every morning like they can, which keeps them from growing old. Instead of joy and happiness, Tithonus has to live the rest of his life depressed, and in darkness because of his greed. The lesson in this poem is very clear; being greedy will not always bring you the happiness you desire. One has to know his limits; one has to realize when he is asking for too much. Tithonus thinks because he is Aurora’s lover, since she is a god, he is entitled to being immortal, which illustrates his hubris. Because of his hubris, he has many problems. He thinks he is more important than mortals, so he decides he wants to become immortal, which is the cause of all his problems. Once he becomes immortal he has a very dark and gloomy life. Since he can still grow older, but he will never die, he is very miserable.

The tone of the poem “Tithonus” is very dark. Tenneyson uses words suck as “decay,” “cold,” “grave,” and “darkness,” to convey the unhappy mood of the poem. “Decay” and “grave” makes one think of death, which is a common fear of most people. When people think of cold and darkness, they think of unhappiness, which goes along with the theme...
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