Edgar Allan Poe’s “Annabel Lee” was published two days after the author’s death. Because of its special mood, created by the moving speech, and its profound theme of everlasting love that never ends, the poem, describing the unfortunate demise of Annabel Lee, is considered as one of the author’s most popular works.
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The beginning of the poem reveals the narrator’s feelings toward Annabel Lee, determining the theme and the mood of the verse: “a maiden there lived whom you may know by the name of Annabel Lee; and this maiden she lived with no other thought than to love and be loved by me” (Poe, 2000, l. 5). Here one can view that this is the love of the narrator’s life, and, of course, nothing else in the entire world matters to him.
With the view to describe the death of his young bride Annabel Lee that he loved so much, the speaker uses the melodious narrative form which creates a measured, but at the same time perturbing mood. Such a loss makes him conclude in lines eleven and twelve that the envious angels were jealous of their happiness: “the winged seraphs of heaven coveted her and me”, and caused the death of his beloved Annabel Lee to “dissever” the happy young couple (Poe, 2000, l. 11).
Poe reveals his feelings to the reader by illustrating the girl’s funeral and entombment, as he tells, “in her sepulchre … by the sea” (Poe, 2000, l.18). Developing the theme of eternal love in the given verse, the author depicts the situation, where separation is not acceptable for the narrator and he comes to her tomb every single night. Here Poe tries to bring the message to the reader about the immortality of young love. The narrator, overwhelmed with love for this girl, forgets about everything, he does not care how the spirits, angels, and demons see him; he stays faithful to her and their love: “And neither the angels in Heaven above, nor the demons down under the sea, can ever dissever my soul from the soul of the beautiful Annabel Lee” (Poe, 200, l. 30).
To create the perturbing, but at the same time measured, the mood of the poem the author uses a different meter. The meter used by him in the poem is a felicitous mixture of iambic and anapestic feet, which alter between trimeter and tetrameter. Permitting the world “chilling” both in the lines fifteen and twenty–five, Poe retains its sharp trochaic meter with the view to use the provoking effect of this meter to describe his inner feelings. Thus, it is possible to conclude that the death of the speaker’s beloved Annabel Lee disrupts the rhythm of the verse, and therefore, startles the reader.
Another feature that determines the mood and the theme of the verse is the “Annabel Lee’s” diction, which drags the reader into the author’s fantasy-like kingdom of love shared with his young bride, “It was many and many a year ago, / In a kingdom by the sea,” and they “loved with a love that was more than love” (Poe, 2000, l.1). To express his feelings and create a perturbing mood, Poe makes the internal rhyme more deep and full.
For example, the rhyme from line twenty-five – “chilling and killing” accentuates the sudden death of his beloved bride. Another rhyme from line thirty -on – “ever dissever” (Poe, 2000) stresses the durability of their feelings and affections determining the theme of the verse. Therefore, one may strongly assert, defining one’s point of view that the key image represented in this poem by Poe is enduring love.
To prove one’s viewpoint, one can provide the evidence which can be seen at the end of the verse: “And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side / Of my darling-my darling-my life and my bride, / In the sepulchre there by the sea, / In her tomb by the sounding sea” (Poe, 2000, l. 40). Therefore, one may conclude that, regardless of Annabel Lee’s demise, the narrator reveals his love for her by caressing, holding, and loving her in his imagination near the place where she will stay for eternity, determining the theme of eternal love. One may firmly assert that both in life and in death, the author of “Annabel Lee” – Edgar Allan Poe evokes a feeling of sympathy and understanding in the reader’s heart.
Poe, E. A. (2000). Annabel Lee. Complete Poems: Edgar Allen Poe. Chicago: University of Illinois Press.