28 April, 2016
Dreamland Explication Essay
The world of dreams is a confusing and ever shifting place. In Edgar Allan Poe’s poem, “Dreamland” the reader is brought into his world of dreams and shown not only the odd and boundless landscape, but also Poe’s own feelings toward his dreams and even his waking world.
In the first stanza of the poem the journey to Dreamland is described. In line one Poe describes his path to dreamworld as “obscure and lonely” and “haunted by ill angels.” The paradox of the phrase “ill angels,” is interesting to note. Angels are typically seen as perfect beings, shining beacons, but these angels are somehow lesser, possibly even demons. They do not grace the path with their presence as a true angel would, but haunt it, a term laden with negative connotations. In the next line the reader is introduced to the ruler of this land, “an Eidolon named NIGHT.” The term Eidolon is simply a spectre or phantom, but it can also mean an idealized person or thing, making it the perfect description for a spectral ruler. Poe’s diction, specifically his use of higher vocabulary, conveys power and enhances the second meaning of Eidolon as an idealized person, making NIGHT appear as someone worthy of ruling the realm of dreams. NIGHT rules his dreamy realm from “a black throne.” Thrones are a well known symbol of power, and because NIGHT and his throne share in their blackness, it can almost be seen as though the power of the throne is a part of the night itself, just as the darkness is. Poe then goes on to describe the place from which he has just arrived. He has “reached these lands but newly/ from an ultimate dim Thule.” A Thule, being a place beyond the borders of the known world, ...
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...of both reality and dreamworld as a Thule shows that Poe does not feel truly present in the real world, making his reality seem like another dreamworld, another place he is only a visitor and cannot truly belong or understand.
Looking back, dreamworld can almost be viewed as the afterlife itself, full of spirits of both strangers and loved ones, and Poe’s longing for this place, because of the many woes reality holds for him, can be seen as a depressed man’s longing for the eternal sleep of death. Poe’s description of dreamworld allows the reader to see and feel those emotions running through his head as he visits that other world. Poe’s attitude toward the world he describes is one of awe and also longing. He seems to dislike his inability to fully comprehend it, and to yearn for a time when he can understand and forever remain in the world of dreams and the dead.
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