Analysis of Annabel Lee Essay
D’souza 1 Clayton D’souza Mr. Morano ENG3U1-04 Monday, October 1, 2012 Everlasting love in the poem “Annabel Lee” Everyone dreams of the love of their life that is very special to them. It is the kind of person that makes their life complete and even though death their love continues on. In the poem “Annabel Lee,” Edgar Allan Poe writes of this kind of love, a love so strong “the angles not so happy in heaven went envying her and me” (lines 21-22). Poe utilizes a combination of poetic shifts and imagery, along with diction to express this everlasting love.
On the literal level the poem starts off with Poe’s persona remembering his love, Annabel Lee. Many years ago the persona and Annabel Lee were both children who lived in a kingdom by the sea. Even though they were young they loved each other with a strong passion. Their love was so strong; angels took notice and were envying them. The angels brought a strong wind and chilled Annabel Lee to death. Her highborn kinsman came and took her away from the persona and put her in a sepulchre. Even through death their love was still strong.
Angels and demons cold not separate their souls from each other. The moon gives the persona dreams about her and the stars remind of him of her eyes. Every night Poe’s persona goes and lies down beside the tomb of Annabel Lee. D’souza 2 Poe begins his poem with the use of poetic diction to evoke a fairy tale atmosphere. “It was many and many a year ago,” (line 1) echoes the traditional fairytale opening of “once upon a time. ” He does this because he wants to show that his love is pure of a fairytale and also to imply to the reader of a happy ending.
Then Poe goes on: “in a kingdom by the sea,” (line 2) using imagery to portray the image of a peaceful land of where the two lovers lived and again mimicking the fairytale feel. Then Poe introduces the love of his life, Annabel lee and again using poetic diction to refers to her as a “maiden. ” The connotations of maiden imply that she is young, unmarried, and pure. Poe then starts of his second stanza with “I was a child and she was a child” (line 7). He uses the word “child” to emphasize his poetic diction that their love was sprouted from youth and is very innocent.
As the poem continues, Poe expresses how strong their love is: “with a love that the winged seraphs of heaven coveted her and me” (Lines 11-12). Winged seraphs of heaven are considered to be very holy, peaceful and full of goodness. To be coveting is not a very holy emotion to be feeling. By using poetic diction in the words “winged seraphs of heaven” and “coveted” he shows that his love was so intense that angels in heaven who are supposed to be very holy changed their ways and are jealous of their love.
In the next stanza when Poe writes the line “a wind blew out of a cloud, chilling my beautiful Annabel Lee,” (line 15-16) is when a great shift of tone and imagery in the poem happens. Poe does this to express his feeling of the death of Annabel lee and to also show how much he loved her. He goes on to say “so that her high born kinsman came and bore her away D’souza 3 from me, to shut her up in a sepulcher” (Lines 17-19). In this quote we have the image of separation between the two lovers. Also instead of saying “lay her down” or something else with positive connotation he uses the phrase “shut her up” which has a very negative connotation.
Poe purposely does this the express his negativity towards the highborn kinsman for taking away Annabel Lee. In the fourth stanza he says the line “that the wind came out of the cloud by night” (line 25). All of a sudden we have a very dark and scary image of wind, clouds and night. In the last stanza is when another shift in the poem occurs. It is almost as if he accepts the death of Annabel Lee and that her death will have no affect on their love. He says the line “for the moon never beams without bringing me dreams of the beautiful Annabel lee and the starts never rise but I feel the bright eyes of the beautiful Annabel lee” (Lines 34-37).
Poe went from stressing dark imagery to imagery of light, associating moonbeams with dreams about his beloved and the radiance of stars with her eyes. Poe expresses the theme of everlasting love in an excellent way thought-out the poem however it is the use of diction, shifts and imagery that convey the theme in making it a poetic masterpiece. It signifies all the heartfelt emotions of Poe’s persona and also provides readers with an insight of the type of love they are dealing with. Without the use of any of these poetic devices the poem would not be successful in getting its theme across.