Rhapsody Workbook Answers Poem 7 Tithonus
Tithonus Poem Long Answer Questions
Who has made Tithonus immortal? What are its consequences and what does he long for?
Tithonus was made immortal as a gift from the goddess of Dawn Eos, who was also attracted by his beauty and chose him as her lover. Tithonus being given a gift of immortality lives with Eos, his wife at the quiet limit of the world.
Since he has gained a power of eternal life, he does not die but confronted with old age and its attendant pains he meditates upon death and mortality. He mourns the fact that death cannot release him from his misery. His misery is his old age where he has become weak, wrinkled and crippled.
He has changed from a beautiful handsome man to a decrepit old man who has lost his youth and beauty. He was granted the life of eternity by the goddess of Dawn but he could not escape the ravages of time. The Hours or time has aged him and his youth and beauty faded away and thus he has been marred and left maimed. To him this boon which he was once granted has transferred into a curse.
Whenever he recollects his past, he compares them with his present miserable situation. Whenever he sees the human beings living in the world of which he was once a part, he feels like dying as he realizes that mortality can only put an end to his miserable life where he is existing as an old, crippled and weak man without eternal youth and beauty. So he desires to die so that he can be free from the fetters of immortality. Freedom is in his aspiration and he knows that it cannot be attained without death.
Describe the poem as a dramatic monologue.
The poem “Tithonus” is a monologue of a single character . The prince of Troy and the lover of the goddess of dawn,Aurora, is found to speak here of his frustration and desperation even after enjoying the boon of immortality. Tithonus is found to speak of himself, with a part of his address, meant for his beloved Goddess Aurora. Hence we can say that the poem is a monologue.
A dramatic monologue is a poetical piece in the first person. In it, a character -a man or a woman is placed in a dramatic situation and made to give out his or her thought or feeling,under the incitement of that very situation.
The essence of the dramatic monologue lies in the situation in which the only
character is placed and in a tensed situation,speaks out. So we find here in the poem how Tithonus the Greek hero speaks of his existing state of his life. He enjoys eternal life but with infirmities and ailments of his old age, he is being pressed down with helplessness.
He feels exhausted and haunted by the hard truth of an external existence without youth, health or beauty and roams in utter desolation like a “white hair’d shadow”. So we find how he brings out the state of his mind, his sense of profound sorrow and desperation through his monologue. Frustration seeps deep into his heart and much sought old bliss has all turned into a terrible curse to him.
Death and not eternal life, is his choice now. Tennyson’s poem is a monologue as Tithonus speaks out of his acute agony and restlessness and then addresses hu=is lover Eos and asks her to release him from the boon of immortality. We find no speech of Eos in the whole poem. Tithonus is the only character who speaks in an uninterrupted flow. ,
Compare the feelings of Tithonus towards immortality in his youth and in his old age.
Death takes man into a world from where he cannot return but immortality has brought Tithonus far away from the world of men, too far to retrace his steps. This poem Tithonus is based on Greek mythology where we find Aurora the goddess of dawn, falling in love with Tithonus for his beauty. Tithonus asked Eos or Aurora for a boon of eternal life but unfortunately he did not ask for eternal youth.
He therefore grows old but does not die while Eos his wife also does not die and does not even grow old and possesses the same beauty or in other words she being a goddess has eternal life as well as eternal youth and beauty. While he was young, he was granted the boon of immortality by Eos his lover. When he received the boon, he thought himself to be the happiest man.
He was once a person “glorious in his beauty”. But since he is aged, weak and crippled now, he lost his youth and beauty. With the passage of time, he has grown old but Eos is externally young and beautiful as she is a goddess and possesses a life of eternity with eternal youth and beauty.
Compared to his wife, he is a completely a mismatch. The youthfulness and the beauty of Eos seem to be incongruous when compared to that of Tithonus. So he now yearns to free him from immortality and grant him his freedom through mortality. He is in a miserable wretched condition due to his old age and compares his present image to that of a ‘white hair’d shadow’ of the past.
Describe how the poet paints a picture of the journey of the goddess of dawn across the sky?
The poet paints a beautiful picture of the goddess of dawn when she arrives or appears in the sky. Through the speech of Tithonus the poet describes how the goddess of dawn appears. When she arrives, the night disappears thus her arrival marks the end of the darkness of the night.
Tithonus looks at her beauty and says that as it dawns, the radiating sunbeams, and the red tinge of the sky look like her reddened cheeks. The brightening glare of the sunlight is being compared to the goddess’s brightened eyes.
The eyes dazzle so much that even the stars in the sky seem to disappear. The brightness of her eyes, make even the stars invisible. Tithonus looks at her beauty before which the shining stars get blinded into invisibility.
The white horses that pull her chariot yearn for the yoke, to start pulling her chariot again. As her chariot starts its journey across the sky, the horses seem to shake off the darkness of night from their manes. The whole sky glows with flakes of dazzling light. In other words when the goddess of dawn appears the dark sky changes into radiating sky, the radiance of which can even blind the stars.
Tithonus Poem Short Answer Questions
Who is Tithonus? What has he been granted and by whom and why?
Tithonus is the lover of Aurora, the goddess of Dawn. He was a Trojan by birth and the son of the king of Troy, Laomedon. Tithonus was a man so glorious in his beauty that the goddess of Dawn, Aurora fell in love with him and raised him to the status of god by granting him the boon or gift of immortality when she was asked for. Tithonus asked the goddess for his immortality and Aurora granted it to him spontaneously and generously.
Why does Tithonus call the boon of immortality cruel?
Tithonus calls the boon of immortality cruel because with the passage of time, he has grown old and his body has perished and he is not as beautiful and handsome as he once used to be. With his growing age his body also reacted and has become weak and shrivelled. So he realizes that a boon of eternal life has no value and is cruel, without a boon of eternal youth.
Where does Tithonus live and with whom and how?
Tithonus’s dwelling place is with the goddess of Dawn.He is old and due to his old age he is withering within the arms of his beloved on the Eastern fringes of the sky and feeling sort of a wandering shadow of his past.
What are the images of the natural cycle of life and death in “Tithonus” ?
In “Tithonus” Tennyson illustrates the natural cycle of birth and death through the images of the woods decaying, the vapours fading, the swans dying, the clouds, days and seasons passing and human beings working and going to their graves ultimately after their death.
What does the legend of Tithonus say about human nature?
The poem of Tithonus tells us that human nature is prone to greed and dissatisfaction with life.What humans have been given with is never enough for them.So they crave and yearn for more without knowing their limitations.So like the hapless Tithonus we strive for superiority.
Give the description of the appearance of dawn on her chariot.
In the poem,the poet paints a beautiful picture of Eos through the speech of Tithonus. In the poem,he says that just before sun rises, Tithonus catches signt of the ‘dark world’where he was born mortal and then he witnesses the approaching of the goddess of dawn.
He can see her cheeks which begin to turn red and her eyes grow so bright that they overpower the light of the stars. When Aurora’s chariot starts its journey driven by a team of horses, the twilight in the sky is being converted into glaring flakes of light. So he now says that she grows beautiful with the start of a new morning.
What similarity is mentioned between the grant of immortality to Tithonus and the way wealthy people give money to someone?
Tithonus asked a boon of immortality from Eos the goddess of dawn. Aurora or Eos granted this boon to him generously and spontaneously like a rich philanthropist who has so much money that he gives away the money to ones who ask for it without thinking twice.
What is the significance of the title Tithonus?
The poem deals with a poignant expression of the inevitability of death and the necessity of accepting it as such. Tithonus who was granted the gift of immortality had to bear the consequences of varying “from the kindly race of men”. Though he succeeded in defying death, his youth and beauty deserted him in his old age. The only way to overcome this, was to ask for his freedom from the life of eternity.
Tithonus Poem Logic Base Questions
Complete the following sentences by providing a REASON for each:
Tithonus calls immortality cruel because…………..
He realizes that the immortality with which he has been gifted by the Goddess of Dawn, is a curse to him as he has grown old with the passage of time and his body has become wrinkled, weak and crippled due to old age.
Tithonus withers slowly but does not die because…………..
He has been gifted by the boon of immortality by the Goddess of Dawn, Eos.
Eos the goddess of Dawn chose Tithonus as her lover because…………..
She was attracted by Tithonus’s glorious beauty.
Tithonus compares the goddess with wealthy men because…………..
The Goddess of Dawn had gifted Tithonus with the boon of immortality when she was asked for it by Tithonus and she gave this boon to him thoughtlessly and arrogantly in such a way as wealthy men give money without much thought.
A glimpse of the dark earth was visible to Tithonus from the sky because…………..
The clouds were separated from one another by a soft blowing breeze.
The vapours weep their burden to the ground because…………..
The air which carries the vapours or mists become heavy and fall on the ground unable to bear their burden or load.
The trees in the wood decay and fall because…………..
It is the nature of the living creatures to decay and perish after a particular span of time.
Tithonus felt like God because…………..
The goddess of Dawn was attracted by his beauty and chose him to be her lover and married him and Tithonus in the arms of the Goddess felt like god himself.
The goddess did not take back the boon of 1 immortality from Tithonus because…………..
The gods and goddesses cannot take back the boon once granted to someone.
Tithonus calls the earthly people happy because…………..
They have not been granted with the gift of immortality like Tithonus. So they will face death as they do not have to live lives of eternity with crippled and feeble bodies,like Tithonus.
Tithonus Poem About the Poet Alfred Lord Tennyson
Alfred Lord Tennyson was an English poet, who was the poet Laureate during much of Queen Victoria’s reign. He was born on August 6,1809, in Somerby, Lincolnshire, England. He was awarded the Chancellor’s Gold Medal at Cambridge for one of his first pieces, “Timbuktu” in 1829.
He published his first solo collection of poems “Poems, Chiefly Lyrical,” in 1830. His early poetry, with its medievalism and powerful visual imagery, was a major influence on the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. Tennyson excelled in short lyrics like “Break, Break, Break,” “The Charge of The Light Brigade,” “Tears, Idle Tears” and “Crossing The Bar.”
Much of his verse was based on classical mythological themes, such as Ulysses. He also wrote blank verses including “Idylis of The King,” “Ulysses” and “Tithonus.” Many of his phrases have become commonplace in English Language like “To strive, to seek, to find and not to yield,” “Knowledge comes but wisdom lingers”etc. He died in October 6, 1892.
Tithonus About the Poem
The poem “Tithonus” is written by the Victorian poet Alfred Lord Tennyson,in the year 1833. It was originally written as “Tithon” and was completed in 1859. It first appeared in the Cornhill Magazine in 1860. It is based on the Greek Myth. According to the myth, Tithonus is the son of Laomedon upon whom the beautiful goddess Eos fell in love.
According to the myth, the Goddess granted Tithonus a boon of immortality and forgot to grant him eternal youth. This resulted in turning Tithonus into a helpless, weak, maimed and old person. Finally we find how Tithonus being unable to bear his weak, shrivelled, body due to his old age, requested the Goddess to free him from the boon of immortality and let him die like other human beings.
In the Greek mythology, Tithonus was transformed into a grasshopper but in this poem nothing like this has been produced. The poem concentrates on human limitations and the the problems that occur when natural cycle of existence is tampered with by human beings or by Gods.
Tithonus Poem in Summary
The poem “Tithonus” is based on an ancient Greek myth, where Aurora the goddess of dawn fell in love with Tithonus the son of King Laomedon, the king of Troy, and has gifted him with physical immortality. The first stanza of the poem opens with the speech of Tithonus speaking to his beloved, the goddess Eos (or Aurora).
Eos granted Tithonus physically immortality which is the actual reason for his despair and pain. He speaks of the woods in the forests growing old and their leaves falling to the ground. Man is born on the earth, works here and then faces death and is buried underground. The swan dies after few years. This is the usual and natural way by which every living creatures perish.
But Tithonus is cursed to live forever. Unlike all the other creatures of the world he is unable to die. He is lingering on in “cruel immortality.” While men and animals fade away, and death consumes them from the earth, yet he remains to wander on earth. He grew old, with passage of time and thus he lost his valour and strength.
His dwelling place is with the goddess of dawn in the Eastern region of the sky among the mists, but he is feeling like a wandering shadow as he is old withering in the arms of his beloved. Every morning he is compelled to see and observe Eos’s chariot taking her into the sky where Tithonus once adored her. So Tithonus, wails his gift and recalls his beauty in his youth and regrets for the gift of physical immortality instead of the youthful immortality.
He thinks how he was once a handsome man and how Eos had chosen him as her lover, and how Tithonus himself had asked her for his gift of immortality. He was given this gift as a wealthy man gives his wealth liberally to someone in need. But now the time has snatched his youthful looks and left him old, wrinkled and shrivelled. Thus he now craves and yearns to be free from the trance of love and requests his lover to take back the gift.
He now realizes how in vain, he had longed to be different from all mankind. Tithonus laments however, that the Hours, the goddesses who accompany Aurora were angry because Tithonus was able to resist death, so they took their revenge by battering him until he grew old and withered and was left maimed leading to a miserable painful life.
Now though he cannot die, he remains forever old and he must dwell in the presence of Aurora, who renews herself each morning and is thus young forever. Tithonus compares his present appearance to Eos’s beauty which she still possesses so he appeals to Aurora to take back the gift of immortality while the silver star of Venus rises in the morning. He realizes the ruin in longing to be different and unique from the rest of mankind and in living beyond the normal human lifespan.
Tithonus Poem Line Wise Explanation
The woods decay, the woods decay and fall,
The vapours weep their burthen to the ground,
Man comes and tills the field and lies beneath,
And after many a summer dies the swan.
Me only cruel immortality
Consumes: I wither slowly in thine arms,
Here at the quiet limit of the world,
A white-hair’d shadow roaming like a dream
The ever-lilent spaces of the East,
Far-folded mists, and gleaming halls of morn.
The poem is a dramatic monologue where the speaker is Tithonus. Tithonus was the prince of Troy who was gifted with immortality by the Goddess of Eos who fell in love with Tithonus. Having been maimed and aged beyond recognition by his longevity, Tithonus yearns and longs to be released from his endless life and find peace in death. In a very sorrowful mood, he addresses the Goddesses of Dawn.
He says that the trees perish and drop down on the earth, the drops of water also fall on the ground when the air carrying them becomes heavy with them. Humans are born, they come and work and then finally have to mingle with the dust of the earth, they have worked on. After living for some years, the swans also meet their death. But only for him, immortality has become cmel and he cannot bear it.
Old age is taking away his strength from his body while he is decaying in Eos’s amis. He appears like a shadow with white hairs. The region where he stays and wanders about is the Eastern region of the sky, which is covered with mists. He can see the light and shine of the early morning from a distance only.
These lines give us a very dismal picture of Tithonus’s existence. Through these lines he means to say that all the perishable things of nature are better and happier than him as they follow the natural cycle of birth and death. He realizes the importance of the end of life. Sd what he sees around him in the world, among the living creatures and natural elements ie the gift of mortality is being taken away from him which is actually not a boon but a curse to him.
Alas! for this gray shadow, once a man-
So glorious in his beatuty and thy choice,
Who madest him thy chosen, that he seem’d
To his great heart none other than a God!
I ask’d thee, ‘Give me immortality.’
Then didst thou grant mine asking with a smile,
Like weathy men, who care not how they give.
In these lines, Tithonus is seen lamenting of his once glorious and youthful looks which have now changed into a poor shadow of him. He recalls how he was once handsome, dynamic, vibrant and youthful. His looks were so handsome that Goddess Eos was attracted by it and chose him as her lover which made him the happiest man. He then had asked her to grant him the boon of ‘life of eternity.’ She granted him this, as rich people give money to someone without thinking much, thus indicating that even the Goddess did not think about the consequences of the boon.
She gave the boon without thinking what the consequences would be for the receiver of the gift. So here Tithonus regrets when he thinks that he has received eternal life without eternal youth. The consequence at present is that he has changed into an old man from a passionate young man while his wife is still young.
These lines also indicate the carelessness of Eos while granting Tithonus eternal life.She forgot to grant him eternal youth. Her granting of the boon also suggests that Eos behaved in rather an arrogant manner as her deed is compared to the rich people’s manner of giving money without much thought, when asked for.
But they strong Hours indignant work’d their wills,
And beat me down and marr’d and wasted me,
And tho’ they could not end me, left me maim’d
To dwell in presence of immortal youth,
Immortal age beside immortal youth,
And all I was, in ashes. Can thy love,
The Goddess of Dawn, granted Tithonus eternity but Time has taken its toll and made him weak, withered and old. As a result of the gift of immortality Tithonus does not face death. Instead he is crippled and is now a deformed old man.
He then compares his looks with that of his wife, the Goddess of Dawn, who is still young and possesses the youthful beauty. With the passage of time, his youth has passed away and he is now forced to live with his young and passionate wife, inspite of his old and withered body.
He speaks that this is the natural cycle where a person grows old with the passage of time. On the other hand, Gods enjoy eternal youth and do not become old, which implies that human beings cannot follow the ways of Gods. These lines also suggest how hapless men become before the on slaughts of time.
Thy beauty, make amends, tho’ even now,
Close over us, the silver star, thy guide,
Shines in those tremulous eyes that fill with tears
To hear me? Let me go: take back thy gift:
Why should a man desire in any way
To vary from the kindly race of men
Or pass beyond the goal of ordinance
Where all should pause, as is most meet for all?
In these lines Tithonus asks the Goddess of Dawn, if she can take back the gift of eternity that had been given to him. He wants to ask if she can rectify her error of granting him such a gift. The tears in her eyes make Tithonus realize that she cannot do that. While asking the goddess to take the gift back, Tithonus explains that he has no reason of not accepting the lot of other human beings, which destine them to die. So like other humans, he also wants to die and wither away. Since it is a common fact of all the living creatures, so there should not be an exception in his case.
These lines emphasize that all living creatures are perishable and mortal. If they are born, they have to die since life cycle is made up of birth and death. But if one does not follow the course of nature, one has to suffer. When the person does not follow this pattern of life, it becomes miserable for him. Even the gods seem to be helpless which is proved by the tears in the eyes of the Goddess of Dawn.
A soft air fans the cloud apart; there comes
A glimpse of that dark world where I was born.
Once more the old mysterious glimmer steals
From thy pure brows, and from thy shoulders pure,
And bosom beauting with a heart renew’d.
Tithonus in these lines describes that with the blowing of zephyr, the clouds get separated from one another and through the gap, when the earth can be seen, he remembers it, where he was born. He sees the mild light coming from the beautiful face of the Goddess. He notices the passionate heart of the Goddess beating and her bosom heaving.
He draws a beautiful picture of the dawn. Through the description of the dawn, he brings out the contrast between the youthful beauty of his wife and his own shrivelled and wrinkled looks due to his old age. Through these lines the poet wants to create a contrast between the world of the Goddess of Dawn and the mortal,earthly world to which Tithonus belongs.
The words ‘renewed heart’ is referred to the eternal beauty of the Goddesses. On the other hand Tithonus’s world is full of darkness. It emphasizes the absence of compatibility and the presence of incongruity between Tithonus and the goddess. On one hand the poet here beautifully paints the brightness and charm of early morning and on the other hand draws a picture of Tithonus who lacks the charmness and brightness due to his decrepit situation.
Thy cheek begins to redden thro’ the gloom,
Thy sweet eyes brighten slowly close to mine,
Ere yet they blind the stars, and the wild team
Which love thee, yearning for thy yoke, arise,
And shake the darkness from their loosen’d manes,
And beat the twilight into flakes of fire.
Lo! ever thus thou growest beautiful
In silence, then before thine answer given
Departest, and thy tears are on my cheek.
Why wilt thou ever scare me with thy tears,
And make me tremble lest a saying learnt,
In days far-off, on that dark earth, be true?
‘The Gods themselves cannot recall their gifts.’
These lines give a vivid description of how the goddess of Dawn appears. Tithonus describes her cheeks turning red and her eyes shining bright. As she arrives, the night comes to an end. The darkness of the night slowly leaves and the Dawn arrives with her bright, charming beauty. Tithonus speaks of this beauty of hers as so bright that the shining stars also look pale as compared to it. So the stars become invisible due to the brightness of dawn. The ‘wild team’ or the team of horses drawing her chariot yearn for the yoke, to start pulling her chariot again.
As her chariot starts its journey, the whole sky glimmers with the dazzling flakes of light. The Goddess of Dawn disappears again before answering to Tithonus’s request, to take back the gift of immortality. She goes back silently. Tithonus notices her helplessness and says that he realizes her helplessness is not being able to make him mortal again. So the goddess’s eyes are filled with tears and this tears remind him of the saying that he had heard long ago. It was that gods cannot take back the boon granted to someone.
So here we find, how he gives a clear description of the Goddess of Dawn with cheeks getting red and eyes shining brightly. This shows the poet’s sense of beauty. Again we find that the Goddess is aware of the pain and agony of Tithonus but inspite of it she feels helpless. It points out that even gods are unable to act according to their will. They too have certain limitations like the human beings.
Ay me! ay me! with what another heart
In days far-ff, and with what other eyes
I used to watch-if I be he that watch’d-
The lucid outline forming round thee; saw
The dim curls kindle into sunny rings;
Changed with thy mystic change, and felt my blood
Glow with the glow that slowly crimson’d all
Thy presence and thy portals, while I lay,
Mouth, forehead, eyelids, growing dewy-warm
With kisses balmier than half-opening buds
Of April, and could hear the lips that kiss’d
Whispering I knew not what of wild and sweet,
Like that strange song I heard Apollo sing,
While Ilion like a mist rose into towers.
Tithonus remembers the days when he was the young lover of the beautiful Goddess. He realizes that he is perhaps a completely different person who used to look at the changing colours and shapes of Aurora at dawn. Tithonus could see her curls changing into bright sunny rings. This view used to bring a change in Tithonus also. Her radiance made him feel his blood glow with passion and desire.
He remembers his youth when he would feel his whole body come alive at dawn as Eos kissed him on his eyelids, mouth and forehead. He felt lying in the fragrance of soothing flower beds. At that time he heard her loveful words which he could understand. Eos used to whisper to him “wild and sweet” melodies like the music Apollo’s lyre, which was sung while creating the Towers of Troy. The Towers seemed to rise out of mists. These lines show Tithonus’s depth of suffering and pain. He also regrets and senses the loss resulting from the gifts of immortality that he received from the Goddess of Dawn.
Yet hold me not for ever in thine East:
How can my nature longer mix with thine?
Coldly thy rosy shadows bathe me, cold
Are all thy lights, and cold my wrinkled feet
Upon thy glimmering thresholds, when the steam
Floats up from those dim fields about the homes
Of happy men that have the power to die,
And grassy barrows of the happier dead.
Release me, and restore me to the ground;
Thou seest all things, thou wilt see my grave:
Thou wilt renew thy beauty morn by morn;
I earth in earth forget these empty courts,
And thee returning on thy silver wheels.
In these lines Tithonus asks Aurora not to keep him imprisoned and captivated in the East where she rises anew each morning because his eternal old age contrasts so painfully with his eternal renewal. He says that their natures do not match and it is impossible also to match because she is an immortal Goddess with non perishable beauty whereas Tithonus is a human being whose death is to be inevitable but due to Tithonus’s gift which he received from the goddess, he has become immortal which is against the rule of human being’s life.
So he has become immortal but his beauty and youth are perishable and so now his feet tremble when he finds himself at her threshold. He cringes cold and wrinkled, whereas she rises each morning to warm “happy men who have the power to die” and men who are already dead in their burial mounds. A look at the steam floating from the homes of men who are destined to die tells him that they are happy since they do not have to suffer eternal life without permanent youth. When Tithonus sees all these, he also feels to die and to be buried under the ground.
So Tithonus asks the Goddess to release him and free him from captivity and let him die. By this way, the Goddess will see his grave and will see him lying in his grass-covered grave even after his death. Her beauty and youth are ordained to get renewed for ever.
But Tithonus will not remember her beautiful court as he cannot match her in youth and beauty. If he is set free from immortality, he will die and go to his grave. Aurora is described as being on ‘silver wheels’ because she was the Goddess of Dawn, and was ‘personified’ as the sun rising in the sky.
Tithonus Poem Theme
The poem “Tithonus” by Tennyson is based on a Greek myth in which the prince of Troy marries the goddess of dawn who grants him eternity but forgets to gift him with ever-lasting youth. As a consequence of it we find how Tithonus suffers from old age and infirmities but his wife remains the same and possesses the beauty as she is the Goddess of Dawn. So, he fails to match the youth and passionate feeling of his beloved wife. So the poem focuses and centres around the aftermath of the gift of immortality, granted to Tithonus by Aurora.
The poem contains the lamentation of the hero, as he is cursed with immortality, without the blessing of eternal youth & beauty. His health fails, his body perishes and his beauty also withers with the passage of time. So Tithonus only aspires for freedom from the boon of immortality. Human beings cannot and should not aspire for a life meant for Gods.
They should live like what they are ie humans should be aware of their limitations. So once a human being tries to over reach the limits and follow the ways of god. he has to face terrible consequences. One should be happy as long as one is aware of one’s limits and limitations just like Tithonus who suffered a lot as he accepted immortality.
Tithonus Poem Word Meaning
Decay — decline
Vapours — mist
Burthen — burden
Tills — ploughs
Immortality — eternal life or life of eternity
Consumes — slowly eats up
Release — set free
Feebler — weaker
Indignant — resentful ; discontented
Agonizing — giving mental pain
Envy — jealousy
Thy choice — your selection
Grant — give
Hours — time
Thresholds — buildings
Wills — desires
In ashes — in old age
Make amends — rectify or make correction
Tremendous — trembling
Silver star — the morning star
Ordinance — order
Fans the clouds — separates the clouds with air
Mysterious — strange
Glimpse — a quick look
Glimmer — shine
Wild team — a chariot of Aurora pulled by the team of horses
Mane — hair on the horses neck
Twilight — a soft glowing light from the sky when the sun is below horizon
Growest — grows
Lucid — clear
Crimsoned — turned crimson red
Portals — large entrance to a building Barrows , ancient graveyard
Tithonus Poem Critical Appreciation
The poem “Tithonus” by Alfred Lord Tennyson brings out the despair, agony and pain which the speaker of this poem faces due to the boon of immortality which was gifted to him by the goddess of Dawn, Eos. While granting, she forgets to grant him, eternal youth, and thus he is condemned to aging forever.
The poem is in the form of a dramatic monologue where Tithonus, the hero of the poem lanients about his “eternal life” without eternal beauty. He addresses all the words to the Goddess of Dawn, his wife who is presumably present there in front of him.
This presence of his wife Eos makes the poem a dramatic monologue. The first thing that strikes
the critic is how well the theme suits the tone of reflective melancholy that the poet does so well, using rhythm and other sonic devices to produce the effect of languor, and longing for the eternal beauty of the Goddess.
On the thematic level, we can appreciate the work as we can understand how prolonged life, especially outliving the powers of one’s youth, is equally problematic like premature death. From the character of Tithonus, we can also learn that over-ambition is not good. There are certain limitations, certain rules which human beings must follow.
When humans become over-ambitious and they want to exist like super humans, downfall of them is inescapable. The poem teaches us that human beings should not step into the territory of super humans. So the cycle of nature should not be disrupted as it creates a great trouble if it is done so.
Tithonus Poem Style
The poem “Tithonus”, written b’ Tennyson is in the form of dramatic monologue. It is based on the classical mythological theme. It revolves around the Greek myth of the Trojan prince Tithonus and his lover Eos or Aurora, the Goddess of Dawn. It has no specific rhyme scheme or pattern of meter,meaning that it is written in blank or free verse.
Tithonus is the only speaker expressing his pain and agony to the Goddess of Dawn. The devices used by the poet make the poem beautiful, interesting and artistic. ‘Thy cheek begins to redden thro’ the gloom flakes of fire,’ ‘The dim curls rings’ are the visual images used by the poet to describe Eos. He has used many metaphors and sirniles as well.
‘A white —hair’d shadow’ is a metaphor for old Tithonus who is nothing but a mere shadow of his past. ‘Like that strange song sing/ While towers’, ‘A white-hair’d like a dream’ are examples of similes.there are also uses of alliterations, assonance and personification, in the poem.
Tithonus Poem MCQs
Choose the correct alternative to complete the following sentences:
The poem is written by
c. Thomas Hood
The speaker in the poem is
a. The Goddess Aurora
b. The Goddess of Sky
d. God Apollo
Tithonus lives in the company of the Goddess of Dawn in …………..
a. The East
b. The West
c. The North
d. The South
a. The East
The bird mentioned in the poem is alan ………..
Tithonus was chosen by
The immortality and old age seem cruel to the speaker and he wants to ……….
a. live longer
b. live in the company of human beings
c. die and get released from the boon
d. become young again
c. die and get released from the boon
The animals mentioned in the poem are ………..
A’ white – hair shadow’is an example of ………..
Tithonus is unhappy ………….
a. with the Goddess of Dawn
b. with other Gods
c. because he has become immortal but grown old
d. as he has to die like other human beings
c. because he has become immortal but grown old
Due to the boon of immortality Tithonus as an old man has to live with his
a. old and withered wife
b. young and beautiful wife
c. youthful passion for beauty
d. a wife cursed to die soon
b. young and beautiful wife