How does Tennyson tell the story of Tithonus Essay

774 Words Mar 11th, 2014 4 Pages
How does Tennyson tell the story of ‘Tithonus’? (A02)

Tennyson tells the reminiscence of immortal lover ‘Tithonus’ in an elegiac fashion. The poem depicts the suffering of the immortal Tithonus who unfortunately despite having been granted immortal life was not blessed with immortal youth with it. As such, Tithonus is doomed to age and as he withers and wrinkles away, he is left to endure alone since his lover, the immortal goddess Aurora is tasked with carrying the rising sun at dawn. Tennyson’s narrative methods are effective at conveying Tithonus’s confused and regretful state of mind. Tennyson’s linguistic devices project the powerful emotions felt by Tithonus and his lingering memories of his youth adds a sense of nostalgia to
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He describes himself as: “a white-hair’d shadow roaming like a dream” the adjective: “white hair’d” links back to his old, withered physical demeanour. However, the simile: “roaming like a dream” suggests he’s been reduced to a mere concept or idea alive only in the sub-conscious and with no physical presence anymore. Indeed, he is also shown as not feeling himself an active participant in the relationship: “To dwell in presence of immortal youth” the verb ‘dwell’ is quite passive and stationary. This suggests that Tithonus feels he is no longer physically or mentally contributing to Aurora and his relationship. He is not only detached from his old self, he also feels detached from the relationship that he sought immortality for in the first place.

Tithonus is consumed by regret and sorrow. He pleads with Aurora to withdraw her gift:” Let me go: take back thy gift” the caesura in the middle creates a pause whereby Tithonus explores in what way Tithonus means for Aurora to ‘let him go’ moreover, ‘let me go’ is an imperative. For Tithonus to go to the lengths of commanding a God shows he truly has lost his mind or else, he is desperate beyond measure and has nothing more to lose. He declares himself to have: “passed beyond the rules of ordinance” Tithonus no longer sees his existence as natural and evidently wants to