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Annabel Lee by Edgar Alan Poe Essay


The theme of the poem by Edgar Allan Poe “Annabel Lee” is eternal love and how it survives despite all obstacles. The author has used many symbols and allegories to express his feelings to the beautiful girl with the name Annabel. Poe notes, “She was a child, and I was a child … but we loved with a love that was more than love.” It does not mean that they were children, but rather that their love was pure as the love of children. The author is talking about the mutual love that makes people happy. The subtopic of the poem is a pain of losing the person you love. Annabel has died because of illness, but the author shifts the guilt to angels in heaven who have become jealous of their love and have chilled the girl to death. The loss of the lover is excruciating for the author, and he even says that “I lie down by the side of my darling … in her tomb by the side of the sea”, as if with the death of the lover, Poe has died as well, not physically but emotionally.

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The mood of the poem changes from joyful in the beginning to depressive at the end of the verse. At first, the author is very joyous to share has happiness – he loves, and he is loved. He describes his love as eternal and says that even angels were covering them with wings (it means that he felt protected in some way). While further in the poem the reader feels despair and angriness of Poe when he blames the angles for being too jealous and taking away his lover. Poe exclaims “Yes! That was the reason (as all men know, in this kingdom by the sea)”, he is very excited and wants to believe that his lover was killed. However, further in the poem, the overall mood of the lines gets more optimistic, and author notes that nothing in this world can dissever his soul from the soul of his lover – the love is eternal. Poe sees Annabel in his dreams, the stars remind her eyes and he feels that she is close to him. However, the last line four lines leave the reader with the pessimistic mood – Poe feels as if he lies in the tomb with his lover. If he imagined her in his room, the overall feeling would be more favorable.

Poe through this poem has wanted to express the point of view that love is eternal is it is true, and even if one person dies, the unity of souls cannot be destroyed. The author does not make a completely different point of view – he has the same vision of love as all people do, however, the love Poe writes about is not self-destructive and if the lover dies, the life has to continue. It seems that the author, being the narrator of the story, wants the reader to identify himself with the character of the poem – the love story presented in the poem is tragic and nobody is protected against the similar situation. Thus, the narrator has provided the guidance on how to overcome the pain of loss – not to bury own emotions and destruct the self. Poe uses the first person (“I”) to help the reader imagine the situation and think what would he/she felt in the similar situation. Such usage of the point of view encourages the reader to feel the pain of the narrator and subconsciously imagine the self in the same situation. Poe does not use passive voice because he wants to stress the inner feelings and personalize the emotions for each reader.

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