Edgar Allan Poe's Annabel Lee Essay

1973 words - 8 pages

Edgar Allan Poe was born on January 19, 1809. Poe was an American poet and short story writer. His father left his family after Poe was born and his mother died of tuberculosis about three years later. Therefore, Poe never knew his parents and was raised by John and Francis Allan, friends of Poe’s parents. Poe attended the University of Virginia in 1926. However, his gambling debts caused him to dropout within two semesters. After leaving the university, Poe joined the Southern Literary Messenger. This helped him get a start with writing short stories and poems, and became a renowned literary critic but because of his aggressive reviews and alcoholism, he was removed from the Southern Literary Messenger. In 1836, Poe married his thirteen year-old cousin, Virginia Clemm. Eleven years later, Clemm would die of tuberculosis, the same cause of death of Poe’s mother (“SparkNotes on Poe’s Short Stories” SparkNotes.com). The death of Virginia Clemm has been said to be the inspiration of the poem “Annabel Lee” which dwells into the beauty and death of women. Poe uses imagery to create a beautiful yet haunting setting, and also internal rhyme and alliteration to create flow in the poem.
“Annabel Lee” is a narrative poem that tells a story about the love between the narrator and his lover, Annabel Lee. The rhyme scheme is not consistent throughout the poem. The poem starts out as an ABABCB rhyme scheme. However, in the second stanza, Poe starts using a variation of an anaphora repeating his words in line seven “I was a child and she was a child.” Even though it does not help with consistency in the poem, it does help with flow of the poem. Because Poe used an anaphora, it helps emphasis the innocence of the love shared between the narrator and Annabel Lee. Another rhyming technique Poe uses is internal rhyme, which is a rhyme within a line. Line thirty-four is a good example of this. “For the moon never beams, without bringing me dreams.” Poe keeps using repetition, like internal rhyme and anaphoras, to create flow and emphasizes the tone which the narrator is trying to condone. As the rhyme scheme, the structure is also inconsistent. There are a total of six stanzas. The first two stanzas are sestets. The third stanza is an octave. The fourth stanza goes back to a sestet. The fifth stanza is a septet. The sixth and last stanza is an octave.
The tone of the first two stanzas of the poem are happy and somewhat majestic about the love the two characters have for each other. Poe introduces the reader to the poem like a fairy tale story. Poe does this by using such phrases like “maiden” and “kingdom by the sea” over and over throughout the poem, which is another anaphora, but the tone of this phrase changes as the story progresses. In the third stanza, when the “kingdom by the sea” is mentioned again, except this time, it is more haunting than majestic. The first two stanzas describes their love as inseparable. Line nine says “But we loved with a love that...

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