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Analysis of Annabel Lee

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In a Kingdom by the Sea

There is nothing quite like a first love. The emotions are fresh and feel stronger and stranger than anything before; it is almost magical. For most, the feelings of a first love can seem quite difficult to capture in words but Edgar Allan Poe proves himself able in his poem "Annabel Lee". The poem, considered a ballad by most, honors the memory of Poe's deceased wife, Virginia, who died two years prior to him writing the poem. While the death of a beautiful woman is a common theme in Poe's writing, “Annabel Lee” presents a deeper theme of eternal love through the use of imagery and a unique use of the many elements of poetry.

By using imagery, Poe allows what the speaker feels to be known and even felt by the reader. His use of imagery to portray the setting is critical to this particular literary piece, in that it is through setting that one gains a significantly better realization of his anguish. [For example in this quote]:

“A wind blew out of a cloud, chilling

My beautiful Annabel Lee;

So that her highborn kinsman came

And bore her away from me,

To shut her up in a sepulchre

In this kingdom by the sea" (lines 16-21)

"In a kingdom by the sea" expresses both a mystical, magical place where their love lasts forever, as well as the brutally, depressing home of the deceased lover's tomb.

In this stanza Poe illustrates a strong, dark force stealing Annabel away from him and brutally "shutting" her up in a tomb.

Throughout the poem, Poe's use of personal imagery (the diction used to embody one’s feelings), demonstrates the depth of his feelings- happy and sad. He uses emotional and penetrating words to reveal a vivid image of the speaker's pain as well as the joy he once felt from his tr...

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...aker's sorrow but also the immense positivity and joy he feels about their love. This poem focusing on love, death, and the mourning of a loved one, evokes almost every type of emotion including empathy, anger, joy, envy, and grief, making for an intense read. Also the meter gives the poem a sort of a somber lullaby that parallels the fairy tale theme. The setting and the speaker's feelings are reflected in Poe's powerful words. He uses repetition and wave like rhythms to continue the quick, ever-changing, repetitive lament that embodies the seaside setting, the storyline (love, loss, mourning), and the entire energy of the poem( positive energy of love, negative energy of loss). Any reader who can appreciate the sweetness and sadness of a great story even if it does not end particularly happy would love this poem and should wait no longer for it to rock their world.
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