Annabel Lee

by Edgar Allan Poe

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Literal

Stanza-by-Stanza

  1. A long time ago, in a kingdom near a sea was a women named Annabel Lee. She loved the speaker and the speaker loved her.
  2. They met when they were children. Their love was a very rare and powerful one. The angels of heaven were jealous of the love between the two.
  3. The angels were the cause for the death of Annabel Lee. They summoned a cold wind and "chilled" (killed) her. A royal family member came and took Annabel away from the speaker and shut her in a tomb.
  4. Everyone knew the reason Annabel Lee was killed was because of the powerful bond between the speaker and Annabel. The angels were jealous of the bond and killed her.
  5. Though Annabel is dead, the two still love each other. Their love is so strong, it transcends life, death and time. Regardless of being sent to heaven or to hell, the two will forever love each other.
  6. Annabel may have died but the speaker still feels her love. The moon casts dreams of Annabel and the stars look down on the speaker with Annabel's eyes. Every night, the speaker lies down in the tomb of Annabel, his darling, life and bride.

Situation

Annabel Lee is a narrative poem. It tells a story about a man losing his loved one. In the poem, when the both of them are young, the speaker meets a beautiful girl named Annabel Lee in a kingdom by the sea. Their love was so strong that even the angels in heaven were jealous of them. Annabel is captured by a kinsman and locked in a room where the jealous angels killed Annabel Lee. No matter the state of Annabel Lee, the speaker still loved her and still feels her presence.


The poem is somber in emotion. The speaker is a man who lost the love of his life due to the jealousy of the angels. The speaker is the lover of Annabel Lee. He is speaking to the reader directly. There is no reason to distrust the speaker because in a figurative sense, love is pure. He is spilling his emotions to the reader. No matter what the true story is, the reader can trust that what the speaker is saying is truly his thoughts. The speaker's attitude changes from bliss to sorrow. The speaker mentions words and phrases like "love" and "kingdom by the sea" to signal a blissful attitude. Towards the middle of the poem, the speaker begins to use such as "killing, sepulchre, envying" which portray a sorrowful attitude.

Structure

The form of the poem does not add anything extra to the poem. Each stanza is similar to a new chapter in a book. The form is free form. The poem develops chronologically. The tone shifts from bright to gloomy. Of the forty-one lines, there are only five sentences which as seemingly complicated. The nouns are in-front of the verb to allow the poem to flow smoothly. Punctuation is seen at the end of each line (end-stopped) and sometimes in a line. Poe added punctuation in the middle of lines to denote either a sudden realization, contrast or emphasis. "Of my darling--my darling--my life and my bride," (Poe 39) The title, Annabel Lee, is straight-forward. It references the love of the speaker's life, Annabel Lee.

Language

The words used in the poem for the most part are simple but a couple unusual as "seraph and sepulchre." The words that stand out are "love, chilling, killing, angels, and night." These words in combination convey a somber and sad emotion. There are biblical allusions to heaven and hell, "Angels in heaven above... demons down under the sea" (Poe 30-31). Annabel Lee is the "ideal" girl, she is beautiful, a love at first sight and grew up in a kingdom by the sea, an ideal location. On lines 25-26, Poe personifies the wind, "chilling and killing my Annabel Lee." The speaker uses hyperboles to exaggerate the love between Annabel and himself, "the demons down under the sea,/ Can ever dissever my soul from the soul/ Of the beautiful Annabel Lee:" (31-33). The speaker also uses metaphors to compare Annabel to the stars and the moon, "For the moon never beams, without bringing me dreams/ Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;" (34-35)

Musical Devices

There is a regular pattern to the rhyme scheme. Every other line, it ends with an -ee sound (Ex: Lee, Sea, Me). The rhythm is not consistent but the repetition of the same rhymes have a hypnotic effect. Poe uses internal rhymes such as "And the stars never rise, but I feel the bright eyes" (36). He also uses some alliteration such as "half so happy in heaven," (21). The alliteration and internal rhymes allow for the poem to flow and submerge the reader into the hypnotic effect.

Works Cited

N, A. Dead Rose. Digital image. Afalconn. Wordpress, 4 June 2012. Web. 6 Mar. 2015.


Poe, Edgar A. "Annabel Lee." Poets.org. Academy of American Poets, n.d. Web. 04 Mar. 2015.