A Logical Progression of Death
Tennyson wrote the poem "Tithonus" shortly after the loss of his friend Arthur Hallam. The subjects explored in the poem may reflect the way Tennysonwas feeling about losing someone so close and so young. In the poem, as in Greek mythology, Tithonus has asked for eternal life but has forgotten to ask for eternal youth as well. He continues to live while his body becomes bent and withered. He is forced to watch his love, Aurora, renew her eternal beauty every morning. Tithonus realizes that it is unnatural for a mortal to attain the same life span as the Gods. He understands that he has deviated from the natural order of the world; he has become an abomination of nature because of his rash decision(1246). believe that he has come to understand that time isonly precious because us mortals have a finite amount of it to enjoy the world inwhich we are placed but it may be a lesson that he has learned too late.
Tennyson's Tithonus logically progresses to his ultimate conclusion of wanting to die in the narrative. In the beginning he reflects in meloncholic lamentation saying,"The woods decay, the woods decay and fall,/...Man comes and tills the field and lies beneath/and after a many Summer dies the swan(1246). Tithonus is beginning to understand the man was not build to outlast his alloted time. He sees that the trees grow tall and though they live for a long time, they eventually fall to the earth and die. He sees the same with man; every man but himself that is. It was love that brought him to this place though. The unexplainable love of a mortal for an immortal God. The rashness of his decision has brought him to this place. He sits on the edge of the world awaiting but a glimpse of his love while she ushers in the dawn(1246). He has traded the sweet sleep of death for an eternity of agonizing contemplation. The story of Tithonus, as Tennyson presents it, is not so much about a man...