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Tithonus Summary | Alfred Tennyson

Tithonus Summary | Alfred Tennyson

Writer’s Intro:

Alfred Tennyson (1809-1892) is one of the greatest Victorian poets in English Literature. He is called the representative of the Victorian age because he shows all the Victorian trends in his poetry. Lack of passion and emotion, ideological conflict, technological advancement, religious controversies, materialism, industrialism, and an unquenchable thirst for knowledge are the main trends of the period. So, it is important to make summary of Tithonus which is written by him.



Tithonus deals with the theme of immortality which can retain one life span but never keeps one’s youth in the same place.


Tithonus Summary

The first part of the summary

Tennyson’s theatrical monologue is shown here. Here the speaker Tithonus speaks to a silent listener Eos or Aurora, the goddess of dawn. The time was at the break of dawn when Aurora is about to begin her journey on her chariot. Tithonus (In Greek mythology, Tithonus was the lover of Eos, Titan (offspring of Uranus) of the dawn. In Roman mythology, Eos is known to be Aurora. Tithonus was a Trojan by birth, the son of King Laomedon of Troy by a water nymph named Strymon, who speaks to his beloved, the goddess Eos (or Aurora).


The trees are dying, the people who work the land die and are buried there, and the swan dies after a long time. Tithonus, however, is living on in “cruel immortality.” Although he has attained immortality, he is aging and feels like a shadow that is straying.

The second part of the summary of Tithonus

He was once a man in the natural world, he says, feeling “glorious in his beauty” and in being chosen by this goddess. He asked her to make him immortal, and she did, but he kept getting older and older. She is always young, so their relationship is like an “immortal age next to immortal youth.” Is her love strong enough to get her through this? Why would anyone want to get this kind of special treatment and not die like everyone else?

When a soft breeze leaves the clouds, Tithonus can see everything below. He sees the glimmer in his beloved’s brow, her cheeks reddening, her eyes brightening, at the view of bringing dawn with her horses and chariot.


When she looks at Tithonus, she can’t help but cry because the dawn always starts over. He is afraid that “the Gods themselves can’t take back their gifts” will be true and that his situation will never change. Tithonus does not die because he is given immortality by his beloved Aurora. But he has not got youth. So day by day he is moving towards aging. Aging could not destroy him but it could destroy his youth and beauty.

The third part of the summary

So, he asks her to set him free and send him back to death and the grave, since he can’t become like her. While the men below are still warm from the day, he feels the coolness of her “rosy shadows.” These men are happy, have the “power to die,” and will be even happier when they do. If she let him go, she would always be able to visit his grave. If he went back to Earth, he would forget about “these empty courts,” but she would keep bringing the dawn on her silver wheels

He can finally see that a man is happy if he can choose to die. So, he asks Aurora to let him go back to earth, where he would die and be buried like other happy men.

This is the end of our content Tithonus summary. Thank you for reading the content. Anyway, if you want to read more summaries from Victorian Poetry, please check the following articles:

Oenone Summary
Locksley Hall Summary

Fra Lippo Lippi
Andrea Del Sarto
My Last Duchess


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Saddam Hossain

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Apart from English language and literature skill, I’m a Digital Marketer & Content Writer at My Writing Pen, BD Business Finder, NY Bizlisting.

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