An Analysis Of Edgar Allen Poe's Annabel Lee

1241 words - 5 pages

1. IntroductionEdgar Allen Poe was born 1809 as the son of the teenage actors Elisabeth Arnold and David Poe Junior in Richmond, Virginia. Since both parents died when he was young, he was raised by the merchant John Allen. Poe studied at the University of Virginia, but left it in 1827 after a quarrel with Allen in order to search for his fathers relatives in Baltimore. There he published his first volume of poems, Tamerlane and other Poems, and married his thirteen-year old cousin, Virginia Clemm. With his wife and her mother he moved to Richmond, Philadelphia, and later to New York City, working for magazines and newspapers in both cities. Though Poe's horror tales were written for the popular taste of the reading public, he actually earned his national reputation through his critical essays and sketches. In 1845 Poe published his most famous piece of work, The Raven, with which his fame was guaranteed. Privately, though, he was not succeeding so well: after his wife died of tuberculosis in 1847 he started drinking uncontrollably and became increasingly ill. He died on a trip to Baltimore, four days after being found near a polling booth on Election Day.Edgar Allen Poe's poem Annabel Lee was first printed in Rufus Griswold's article in the New York Tribune in October 1849,the year of his death, signed "Ludwig". Most people agree that Poe wrote this poem about his departed wife who died two years earlier. Of course the poem may be about an earlier love, or perhaps it is purely fictional, but addressing Annabel Lee as his "life and (his) bride" (line 38) and writing it two years after his beloved young wife's death, it is seems logical that it is indeed written about her.On the following pages, I would like to examine in which ways Poe evokes the sensation of love in his poem Annabel Lee, and which formal means he uses to reach the envisioned effect. In the course of this analysis I will be looking at sound, syntax, rhetoric and imagery in the poem.2. Analysing Annabel Lee2.1 SoundIn this poem, Poe writes primarily with a combination of iambic and anapaestic feet. However, two places, such as in line 15 and 25, he uses a trochaic meter by inducing the word "chilling,". He may have done this to make use of the provoking effect of that meter. The sudden death of the speakers beloved is supposed to startle the reader, therefore it is emphasized by disturbing the rhyme, along with the capitalization of ANNABEL LEE. There is a strong contrast between the tactic of surprising the reader and the repetitiveness of the ending rhymes of the lines. There are very few variations in these, "Lee", "me", "sea" and "we" are repeated frequently.In the last verse, starting from line 34 Poe works with internal rhymes ("beams...dreams", "rise...eyes", "tide...side" etc.). By the attention they call to the reader by being stressed, these lines seem to emphasize the power of a love which is stronger than death.2.2. SyntaxThe frequent use of hyphens in the poem may...

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