what does "Eldorado" mean?

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I have to do a report on Poe's poem "Eldorado" and I am not sure where to start. If anyone has any to say about the meaning or literary devices used, please contact me. My presentation is only in a few days. Thanks

-- Anonymous, May 17, 2000


I really need to know what "Eldorado" mean.

Thank you,

-- Anonymous, May 18, 2000

My mother speaks Spanish, and she claims that it means "golden." I assume that in this context Eldorado refers to the City Of Gold.

-- Anonymous, May 18, 2000

El Dorado is a legendary place in South America, where the streets are said to be paved with gold and wealth and riches are to be had in abundance. It can also be used less specifically to refer to any place which has great wealth or where great riches can be acquired. You're quite right, it is a Spanish word, meaning, literally, "the gilded".

-- Anonymous, May 19, 2000


Originally, El Dorado (meaning gilded man) was a legendary city of fabulous wealth in Colombia where the Chieftain was ceremoniously covered in gold and washed in a sacred lake while he cast precious gems in an offering to the Gods. When the conquistadors arrived in South America in the 16th century, this legend was still told among the Native Indians. Hoping to find this boundless wealth, Spanish and English explorers searched South America and all along the Amazon River for the lost City of Gold. Upon his return to England, Sir Walter Raleigh wrote of these adventures and for a time, El Dorado appeared on English maps.

There is little doubt Edgar Allan Poe had heard or read of these stories and was familiar with the legend. In 1848, the discovery of gold by James W. Marshall at Sutters Mill in Coloma, California triggered the Gold Rush of 1849. After President James K Polk announced the discovery in 1849, some 80,000 people were said to have hastily sold out everything they owned to seek their fortune in California. A few found their treasure but even fewer found their new wealth in gold. Most 49ers lost everything and ended staying in California.

The poem Eldorado is a figurative representation of the fate of the majority of 49ers during the gold rush and is told from the perspective of a knight in search of his own quest. Clad resplendently in shining armor, his future bright, a brave and eager young knight sets out to pursue his lifes goal. As he travels far and wide in pursuit of his glory he becomes disappointed and saddened that he finds no glory in the hunt but continues on for he knows that fame and glory shall surely be found in the deed itself.

On he travels and as he grows old his disappointment turns to disenchantment and then to despondency. Then, as his strength finally fails him, and gloom has consumed his life he is now only the spirit of the man that began the quest for glory. He meets a new knight  a young, brave and eager knight. This new knight asks him where he may find Eldorado. He tells him there is no fame, no glory, no Eldorado in life that it can only be found in the Valley of the Shadow, that only in death will man reach his Eldorado. But if it is Eldorado you seek, then ride on young knight, and ride boldly on.

I suppose if there are any literary devices used it would be the way he uses the term shadow. Poe uses the shadow as a representation of the knights changing disposition as the knight is at first eager and time turns this eagerness to disappointment, his age and failing health changes it to sadness and despondency and finally changes him to a ghost of his former self.

-- Anonymous, May 19, 2000

Here are some quickies on Eldorado: He was traveling East and this can be found because of the way the sun moves...at the beginning his shadow is away from him the sun is rising and he is young. next stanza the sun is directly above at noon and he is aged a little bit. in the third stanza the sun is setting and the shadow is in front of him so he talks to it and now he is an older man. The knight will never find Eldorado until he dies because wherever he stops Eldorado is just over the next hill no matter what. Some say the knight is searching for God and the whole thing is biblical and some others say that the knight is searching for Truth with a capital T, the big Truth of everything.

-- Anonymous, November 30, 2001

The poem " El Dorado " was written about the expeditions of Sir Walter Raleigh to what is now Frence Guana. The knights death symbolizes Raleighs own exacution in the late 1500's.

-- Anonymous, March 13, 2002

El Dorado is said to be a legendary city in South America where everything is made of gold and there is an endless supply. The people that live here are said to be waiting for a god to come and live among them. that's all I know! I hope I helped!

-- Anonymous, April 21, 2003

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