Annabel Lee by Edgar Allan Poe
“Annabel Lee” was written by Edgar Allan Poe in 1849. Edgar Allan Poe was an American writer who started his literary career with poetry. His works were created under the influence of romanticism, particularly, of dark romanticisms genre. The sphere of beauty was the main one in Poe’s poetry. He considered that “Beauty is the sole legitimate province of the poem” (Poe, 1846). Analyzing his poems, it’s easy to notice that the poet turns away from the life as it is and creates another reality, the one that is unclear and obscure. It makes an impression of something connected with dreaminess and reverie. “Annabel Lee” is one of Allan Poe’s masterpieces. This poem is distinctive by that fact that it was the last poem the poet completed before his death. He was born on January 19, 1809 and died on October 7, 1849. Many who have read his poems can say that his life was very tragic and he often showed it through his unique writing. “Anabel Lee” is a instance of it. It is a specific piece of literature of romantic poetry and a romantic themed poem. There is no clear plotline that could be interpreted by prose in details. However, this beautiful lyrics can’t keep any reader emotionally indifferent as it reflects genuine feelings by means of the melodious rhyme. The very first impression the poem creates is a deep, emotional response. In my opinion, this effect is reached with the help of a music source. The structure of the poem contains special sound organization of the poetical language and it creates visual effect of a finished poem. It consists of six stanzas, three with six lines, one with seven, and two with eight, with the rhyme pattern differing slightly in each one. Some phrases are repeated throughout of the poem and these reiterations make it similar to a ballad and create its mournful effect. The semantic and sound structures intertwined the way that they create a single whole. This way it seems that the “musical” part bears a special semantic meaning to underline the main mood of the poem, that is sadness. The theme is devoted to the death of a beautiful woman. It can be described as reminiscing of a loving man about his idealized relationship with his dead lover. The hero and the narrator is one person. The poem tells the readers about deep love of the hero for a beautiful maiden. She is depicted as a symbol of a rare, pure love. The idea of love and death runs through all the poem. There are no spatial, time or other characteristics that would contain any concreteness. It is only known that the girl’s name was Annabel Lee and she lived “in a kingdom by the sea” “many and many a year ago” (Poe, 1849), it describes the events happened somewhere in a distant past. The poem stimulates the imagination of the readers and eliminates everything what could limit it. The author leads the readers through the touching descriptions of their love story. Attention is compelled more to the descriptions of their feelings than to the certain facts from their lives. He says that they fell in love when they were young and their love was so strong that even “winged seraphs of heaven” (Poe, 1849) were envious of them.
Such comparison with symbols that are out of this life and this reality makes the image of their love extremely ideal. It leaves an impression of something that is very high and fragile, something that can hardly do with the cruel reality of the actual life and all its vices. This incompatibility is displayed in the poem especially tragically. Unluckily, the love story ends with the girl’s death. It’s impossible to find a physical explanation for her dearth. The explanation offered by the author is that she was killed by the angels envied the young couple’s happiness: “the wind came out of a cloud, chilling and killing my Annabl Lee” (Poe, 1849). Even more tragical mood of the poem is created through extraordinary fairy tale like setting “It was many and many a year ago, in a kingdom …” (Poe, 1849). The readers anticipate a happy, fairy tale story and then they get the culmination of the heartbreaking announcement of Annabel’s death. Even so, their feeling is strong enough to live after death. The narrator can’t accept death as a separation from the girl he loves, he saves his love in dreams about his beloved one. He finds the brightness of her eyes in the stars at night and comes to her tomb again and again “to lie down by the side” (Poe, 1849) of his darling. His love for Annabel Lee is immensely strong that it reminds worship. His pain is so great after her dearth that he is ready to leave this world in the hope that their souls will be together in another eternal life. The narrator says: “Neither the angels …, nor the demons …, can ever disserve my soul from the soul of the beautiful Annable Lee” (Poe, 1849). In fact, the theme of death of a beautiful beloved girl is present in many poems by Poe. Here, it’s possible to observe the reflection of two facts that explain the author’s view point. The first fact is rooted in his aesthetic believes that “the death … of a beautiful woman is unquestionably the most poetical topic in the world” (Poe, 1846). The second one is connected with the poet’s life and the tragedies he suffered throughout it. Edgar Allan Poe lost his mother when he was 2 years old. Later, his wife Virginia Eliza Clemm Poe died of the disease tuberculosis, just two years prior the time Poe wrote this poem. Undoubtedly, these losses of two beloved women couldn’t but be reflected in his literary themes. Speaking about the image of the beloved girl in “Annabel Lee”poem in particularly, so far there is uncertainty if Annabel Lee was a real person. Some critics suppose that this poem was devoted to the wife of the poet. There are those who belive that the prototype of Annabel Lee was his lover. Some believe that Edgar Poe was inspired by a local legend inCharleston,South Carolinathat tells the story of a sailor who met a woman named Annabel Lee and fell in love with her. Their love story had a tragical end. While he was away, she died from yellow fever. Also, there is an opinion that the image of Annable Lee was just cast by his gloomy imagination. There have been many women suggested and this question still raises debates, though Poe’s wife Virginia Eliza Clemm Poe is considered to be the most credible candidate. Her disease and her death had a substantial impact on Poe as he became deeply despondent after the loss of his wife and turned to drink much. The author died soon after his wife’s death. This poem is the author’s view point on love and death. In my judgement, he displayed his never-dying feelings to his wife, his feelings of loss he continued to experience after her passing and his belief that they would be together in heaven again. If Annabel Lee was indeed Virginia Clemm, then it’s possible to contend that Clemm was the only true love that Poe ever had. Whoever it was to inspire the author to create the poem, the result is melodious lyrics about bright, deep love that was too ideal to exist long in our world and ended tragically, leaving sorrowful recollections for the narrator and feeling of melancholy for the readers. On the other hand though, the poet showed what the notion of an ideal love is, what kind of openness and devotion may exist between two loving people, regardless how old they are or how wise they are. They were not perfect but their love for one another was. I liked this poem as it touched me much and revived hope that people were able to love truly and devotedly.
- Poe, E.A., (1846). The philosophy of composition. Retrieved from http://www.poeticbyway.com/philo.htm
- Poe, E. A., (1849). Annabel Lee. Retrieved from
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