An Analysis of Edgar Allan Poe's Annabel Lee Essay
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An Analysis of Edgar Allan Poe's Annabel Lee
In life, as in death, Edgar Allan Poe evoked a feeling of sympathy from his readership. Those who knew him well considered him deep, mysterious and contemplative; thus, coupled with the copious tragedies he suffered throughout his life, especially the loss of his first wife Virginia, it is easy to understand how the author brings out the theme of Annabel Lee through personal/setting imagery, repetition of words and rhythm/rhyme. Annabel Lee honors the memory of Poe's deceased wife, Virginia. Throughout the poem, his use of personal imagery helps the reader to grasp the intense feelings of loss he continues to experience long after her passing. The setting imagery
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The only way he knew of to somewhat ease his pain was to put it into words; as such, Annabel Lee became the expression of his very soul. Its rhyme and rhythm encompassed a great many emotions, feelings, and desires that ranged from one spectrum to the other. Personal imagery helped to represent the author's rage, love, happiness, sorrow and despair, while the repetition of words served as an avenue for the author to release the inner struggles that could not be set free through any other means than verse. Truly, Annabel Lee was a catharsis to Poe's ailing heart. Almost without exception, all of Poe's literary works have a theme - Annabel Lee is no different in this manner. Without a theme, the poet would have no primary objective for the poem. One way to ascertain the theme is to question what the author was trying to relate to the reader.
By doing so, the answer may appear as obvious as the words that comprise the piece; yet others may escape immediate recognition, which would require further contemplation as to what the author is truly attempting to express.
A relevant phrase in poetry that relates to the overall concept of theme is that of the human condition, which refers -- quite logically -- to the definition of being human. Analyzing Poe's poem, one finds that the human condition is a regular consideration, in that humanity is constantly in question: Is Man strong or weak, good or evil, redeemed or condemned,
Poe honors his deceased wife in his poem of idealized love, "Annabel Lee." The poem tells of the death of a young woman and was originally addressed to his wife Virginia, who died, not coincidentally, as a young woman. Annabel Lee is a more fitting name for his idealized woman, Virginia Clemm not being an easy name to rhyme with (phlegm, hem, them, gem not really doing it for me). In addition to its ease of rhyme, Annabel Lee provides the natural rhythm of iambic pentameter and the "bel" in her name has a subconscious ring to it.
The poem contains an idealized female with an ideal, poetic name, an idealized setting, a kingdom by the sea, and an idealized time period, youth. The love is so ideal that the angels kill her out of jealousy. Poe uses alliteration and consonance to heighten the contrast between his love and her death: he mentions, "the demons down under the sea...can [n]ever dissever my soul from the soul of the beautiful Annabel Lee" (31-33), while maintaining his claim that physical death holds no dominion over their love.