What is the moral message of the poem Oenone?
“Oenone” is a dramatic monologue by Alfred Tennyson. In this poem, Oenone describes her loneliness and suffering as her husband, Paris, abandoned her for Helen. In this simple poem, Tennyson skilfully glues a moral message that, if one gets too carried away by passion, he or she is bound to suffer.
Oenone describes how she fell in love with Paris whom she married and with whom she lived in the most perfect tenderness. But their conjugal bliss was soon disturbed.
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Paris left her for Helen. She describes that Paris was made judge to select “the fairest” goddess among Hera, Pallas, and Aphrodite. The three goddesses offered Paris power, wisdom, and the most beautiful lady of Greece, respectively, as bribes.
To Oenone’s disbelief, Paris selected Aphrodite as the winner and accepted Helen as the bribe. He abandoned Oenone alone on the mountain to suffer.
Tennyson also hints that Paris’ illicit and erotic desire caused the downfall of Troy. At the same time, Oenone’s foolish passion for Paris left her with sorrow and suffering.
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