Anabel Lee : LUSENET : The Work of Edgar Allan Poe : One Thread

Is this a poem about the loss of his wife, or simply about a woman he loves?

-- Anonymous, December 01, 2003


No one knows b/c poes' poems did not become famous until after he died so the analists did not have a chance to question him. (like in the raven he talks about a lost lenore that might of been his wife too)

-- Anonymous, December 01, 2003

in the works annabelle lee he wrote thart poem for the death of his wife. when he worte chilling and killing my annabelle lee he was talking about the death of his wife and how much he loved her.

-- Anonymous, December 03, 2003

it is very confusing and messed up that he married his freaking cousin

-- Anonymous, December 04, 2003

ý think this is only an immortal love.annabel lee is only a lover not a wife so we can say that for this love:it is exellent.but as ý said before they are not married.

-- Anonymous, March 13, 2004

it is about his wife who he loved very much and she died from tb it is about her

-- Anonymous, March 13, 2004

The death of Edgar Allen Poe’s young bride prompted a wealth of bitter resentment in the writer. While this is evidenced in many of his works, nowhere is his antipathy more explicit than in the poem, “Annabel Lee”.

It is apparent from reading lines such as “the winds came out of a cloud, chilling My beautiful Annabel Lee” that Poe feels that he is somehow cursed and that the heavens stole his joy because the angels’ own discontent caused them to delight in destroying the happiness of others. This is further confirmed, and perhaps most overtly so, by the line, “The Angels, half so happy in Heaven, Went envying her and me”.

For Poe, reality and fantasy seem to be intrinsically entwined (Postema, 1991). He seems to view the scenario of jealous angels stealing his love away as incontrovertible fact, rather than simply a manifestation of his rage, which it so obviously is. When he writes, “For the moon never beams without giving me dreams Of the beautiful Annabel Lee”, he seems to be aware of the distinction between fantasy and reality, however this is his only lucid moment.

In addition to its alluring content, the language of the poem also serves to immerse the reader into Poe's fantasy-like realm of the transcendent love he shared with his child bride. Throughout the poem, Poe writes primarily with “a combination of iambic and anapestic feet, alternating between tetrameter and trimeter”. (Carlson, 1987)

The word "chilling," in both places it is used, lines fifteen and twenty-five, retains a jarring meter. This, along with the capitalization of ANNABEL LEE, is done most probably to ensure that the death of Poe's loved one disturbs the rhythm of the poem and startles the reader.

These tactics particularly stand out against the backdrop of repetitiveness that permeates the poem. For example, end rhymes in the poem alternate lines with very few variations, implementing frequently repeated, and alarmingly simplistic rhyming words such as: "Lee," "sea," "me," and "we."

Furthermore, Poe's two breaks in the alternating rhyme scheme signify two important emotions typical of this late stage of his life. The first couplet ("older than we" "far wiser than we") is bitterly mocking in tone, showing undeniable resentment towards “his distinguished foes and oppressors” (Regan, 1967), or the angels in heaven.

In the final stanza Poe writes that everything in this natural world reminds him of his beloved and that his heart still longs for his beloved wife. "and so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side of my darling, my darling, my life and my bride, in her sepulcher there by the sea- in her tomb by the sea". In this stanza the true feelings of Edgar Allen Poe are clearly evident. He pours his entire soul into this single stanza. He cries out to the world that his one true love is really gone; but he is only truly crying out to those who are able to view the tragedy of life and death through his eyes. Poe’s belief that fate somehow holds a grudge against him for finding love and happiness with a 13 year old girl is begging to be justified.

Akin to the barrenness that Poe was obviously feeling at the time he wrote this poem, most detail is stripped away except for the most basic imagery of the sea, the shore and the heavens. These elements seem to act as borders to the meeting place of life and death; earth and the afterlife; the survivor and the deceased. From this perspective, it seems only natural that "The high born kinsmen" and the jealous angels, which symbolize the universe conspiring against their love, is the dividing force that either disrupts or defines these borders.

Though much of the imagery in Annabel Lee has a fairytale quality, it is interlaced with images representing the dark side of Poe’s imagination, which relies on the use of symbols of death such as the kinsmen, the sepulcher and the never rising stars. These symbols bear especially stark contrast to the simplistic settings and language used to describe the author’s perspective of his surroundings.

Edgar Allen Poe was a man beleaguered with personal tragedy and besieged by the more unpleasant experiences of life. His certainty that fate had dealt him a bad hand served to fuel his rage, his alcoholism and his entire mission of self-destruction. However it also served to inspire him to write some of the most thought provoking and emotionally provocative poetry in the history of literature.

-- Anonymous, March 25, 2004

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