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
is critical to this particular literary piece, in that it is through setting
that one gains a significantly better realization of his anguish. A passage
from what came to be the last poem written by Poe before his death
illustrates his torment:
"The angels, not half so happy in heaven, went envying her and me- Yes! -
That was the reason (as all men know, In this kingdom by the sea) That the
wind came out of the cloud by night, Chilling and killing my Annabel Lee.
"But our love it was stronger by far than the love Of those who were older
than we- Of many far wiser than we- And neither the angels in heaven above,
Nor the demons down under the sea, Can ever dissever my soul from the soul Of
the beautiful Annabel Lee."
No matter his efforts, Poe just could not seem to shake the loss of Virginia.
He especially had difficulty forgetting her final days, watching her cough
up blood and slowly dies of tuberculosis. He could not even afford a blanket
or handful of coal with which to keep her warm, so Virginia was forced to
clutch her cat against her chest to fend off the cold. 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...