critique of the sleeper : LUSENET : The Work of Edgar Allan Poe : One Thread

could you tell me where to get a referenced critique on the sleeper or a personal overview of it.. thanx

-- Anonymous, November 07, 2001


Trying to keep this poem simple is not so easy. Crudely put, it is the romaniticized vision of a sleeping(presumed dead but perhaps something more)preserved beauty with rich and drowsy sensual imagery and word music. THEN it moves to away to the frantic, disturbed emotions that make Poe so unique in Romantic poetry. He prays that she will be buried before the delicate vision is ruined by defiling decay, though the burial itself is lugubrious, opprseeive finality. The tension between salvific rest and the horrors of the tomg seem to war in Poe's mind and heart with seamless swithcing of emotions. Some points of interest. Compare the versions of the poem once named Irene(of the destinies).

Yes there is an Irene of the destinies, an Eastern Rite Church saint who had to choose between royal marriage and monastic life(several prayers in this poem by the way, which is not too typical of Poe). I could go on but look up St. irene for yourself and the legend. How Poe got this reference is beyond my knowledge.

The disturbing color red that intrudes into the Sleeper's open chamber seems a part of that intrusion of death and terror that I mentioned above and is very typical in Poe(Red Death, red lights in windows, etc.). Other images and signs of death war with sense of dreaming that seems to mix in with the imagery, dreaming of childhood, peaceful memories undisturbed in themselves by the fear the OBSERVER begins to feel more and more.

-- Anonymous, November 08, 2001

An other way to trace the meaning of both "Irenė" and "The Sleeper" is, perhaps, to go to Shelley's "Queen Mab", a poem Poe knew very well, and deeply appreciated. We have there an "Ianthe" between slumber and death... And we must not forget any "sleeping beauty"! Yours sincerely, Raven's Shade (Belgium).

-- Anonymous, November 12, 2001

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