What is Eldorado really about?greenspun.com : LUSENET : The Work of Edgar Allan Poe : One Thread
What is Eldorado really about. Im not good with symbolism in poems. Could you point some out to me thanx.
-- Anonymous, November 05, 2003
Possibly in conjuntion with the lure of the Gold Rush of 1849, Poe reflected on his own youthful quest(for literary achievement). As usual the poem takes oon merit and life of its own. The golden treasure(The Gold Bug) of the Inca legend of the "gilded one" became a familiar symbol for treasure seekers. California became synonymous in 1849 with Eldorado. Poe had already uised the term in "Dreamland" with the mixture of ideal and sad shadow.Voltaire and milton and others had used the Eldorado legend as well. The Incas have their own connected legends of the Sun and Moon but the Mountains of the Moon were the yet undiscovered source of the Nile and a legendary resting connection to the afterlife and heaven.
Using the figure of the knight is too sketchy to invest with much of the Spanish legend, Quixote etc. The knight is young and colorful, full of song. As in other Poe poems therefore the visual and the mucial start strong. Then a shadow falls over his heart("The Raven" at the end. Now for the second half of the poem, question and answer parallel to the quest and shadow of the first two stanzas.
His trength is failing and he asks this pilgrim shadow(a wanderer with the same character he now possesses). Similar to the Knights questioning about the Grail. The answer is a direction and a doom. As in "dreamland" the land is death wrapped in shadow, but holding the promise of fulfillment. More chilling than comforting, yet that is the strange mood Poe often conveys skirting the borders of death and the ideal. Is the "Ride boldly ride" a mocking or a renewal of first hope and vitality? Probably both and Poe will plunge toward it full of both the ecstasy and the horror. "Ligeia" and "Annabel Lee" and other works late or early seem intent on having the entire work of art create that ambiguous mood. Definitely a spiritaul jounrey symbolic of his life and expressing his heart's inspiration.
-- Anonymous, November 06, 2003