Essay Sample on Edgar Allan Poe "Annabel Lee"

Published: 2023-09-18
Essay Sample on Edgar Allan Poe "Annabel Lee"
Essay type:  Book review
Categories:  Analysis Edgar Allan Poe World literature
Pages: 4
Wordcount: 1059 words
9 min read

In the poem “Annabel Lee”, the narrator evokes his youthful love for Annabel Lee in a kingdom by the sea (Poetry Foundations). The lover’s passion provokes the envy of seraphim and demons, who end the life of the maiden. However, her ghostly presence survives beyond her death, the fusion of souls finally becoming real. Annabel Lee is probably inspired by Virginia Clemm, the unfortunate wife of the poet who had died in January 1847. Her loss left Poe in despair. He had repeatedly stated that "the death of a beautiful young woman was the most poetic subject in the world".

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Yusriansyah analyses the use of figurative language in the poem and states that the poem is narrated in the first person and highlights the topic of the author's main interest: the death of a beautiful woman, whose concept he considered to be the most poetic in the world (Yusriansyah 43). The narrator is not looking for a reminiscence of the unique pleasure he enjoyed in allowing his passion with Annabel to start and join words, but rather an accusation speech against the entities that were looking for the unique breakdown of their emotional value. Emphasizing their attempts as useless. It was not a finite love but a soul bond.

The value of women in the work, then, is that of the value object (Yusriansyah 44). An idealization of the male psyche with and for her understanding of love. In truth, everything feminine is an allegorical representation of the human that is only fascinating as long as it remains as such: a representation. Love itself is the tension towards that fictional object and therefore cannot be realized. The wife is not the maiden that was desired, because desire makes its object and the object of desire and that of possession cannot coincide. True love is, therefore, the art of renunciation.

Syafitri and Melisa analyze the use of figurative language in the poem, stating that the poem easily creates a hypnotic musicality, supported by various literary resources (Syafitri and Melisa 47). There is an abundance of anaphors, repetitions, internal rhymes (freezing/killing), and a careful selection of vocabulary that generates a spectrum of enveloping settings: The very beginning of the work evokes the basic precept of the structure of the fairy tale. And words like "kingdom" and "maiden" transport the reader to medieval oneirism. Merging the aura of mixed situational settings, it creates the uniqueness of its literary background. The rich variety of rhythms is what achieves the correct evocation of signifiers.

The poet uses extensive literary resources to create the hypnotic musicality of the poem, for example,

Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;

And the stars never rise, but I feel the bright eyes

Of the beautiful Annabel Lee; (Poetry Foundations, Annabel Lee)

There is also an abundance of anaphors, repetitions, internal rhymes (chilling and killing), and a careful lexical selection: the beginning of the poem starts with, “It was many and many a year ago” and this recreates the phantasmagorical and remote setting of fairy tales, and terms like kingdom and Maiden evoke a medieval dream world (Syafitri and Melisa 49). The phoneme/i: /, which for Poe was that of the poetic mystery, is widely represented: sea, Lee, me, we, and beams among other words. The metric plays an essential role in the musicality of the poem, and there is a rich variety of rhythms that effectively suggest what the signifiers evoke.

Regarding significant moments in the poem, five main ones stand out. The first is found in the first stanza, in the fifth and sixth verses. It is in these verses where the author declares that this is a classic love poem: "that I had only one desire in life, to love myself and be loved by me (Yusriansyah 46)." They also present the atmosphere of this lyrical work: a sort of tragic fairy tale. The second moment is found in the last two verses of the second stanza, which speak of the angels' envy of the love between these two people. This image contributes to creating an idea of the strength of this love, which is clearly transmitted by the author by "demonizing" the figure of angels.

In the third stanza is the third significant moment that presents the Annabel Lee family as a family that did not allow this love story. A kind of Montescos and Capulets with a sinister ending. The fourth significant moment also coincides with the climax of the poem as it evidences the change in atmosphere and tone of the work through the use of adversative conjunction "But our young love was so much stronger (Yusriansyah 46)." Finally, the last significant moment is found in the last stanza, which is a kind of promise of eternal love, of infinite remembrance of Annabel Lee by her beloved.

A recurring theme in Edgar Allan Poe's stories and poems is the death of a young and beautiful woman. In “Philosophy of Composition” (1846), referring to his poem “The Raven”, he explains this association of women/youth/beauty/death stating that when a woman is most closely allied to beauty; the death, then, of a beautiful woman is unquestionably the most poetic subject in the world; and it is equally beyond doubt that the most suitable lips to express this theme are those of the lover who has lost her beloved. In "Annabel Lee" (1849), the lover lies next to the dead beloved "in her grave there by the sea. It is one of the poems that best exemplifies Poe's poetic creative talent and one of the best works in American literature; firmly marked by the author's distressing tragedy in the simile of death.

Works Cited

Allan Poe’s Literature. A Short Analysis of Edgar Allan Poe’s ‘Annabel Lee’, 2020. Accessed from

Poetry Foundations. Annabel Lee By Edgar Allan Poe, 2020. Accessed from

Syafitri, Dewi, and Melisa Marlinton. "An Analysis of Figurative Language Used in Edgar Allan Poe’s Poems." Linguistic, English Education, and Art (LEEA) Journal 2.1 (2018): 43-59.

Yusriansyah, Eka. An Analysis of The Figurative Language Used in Edgar Allan Poeâ’s Poems. Diss. University of Muhammadiyah Malang, 2014.

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