The tears generating and heartfelt poem, “Annabel Lee,” displays Edgar Allan Poe at his best. Unintentionally capturing the reader with the intenseness of love and bitterness of death, he composed such a poem for personal reasons. “And this maiden she lived with no other thought than to love and be loved by me” (Poe). His play with words and underlying meanings are uncovered by an audience with a thorough understanding of literary aspects.
After deep analysis of Edgar Allan Poe’s “Annabel Lee”, the reader expands their knowledge and understanding of various literary elements present in the poem, such as symbols, themes, atmosphere and meter. Symbols are key parts of this poem; many have been used and give the tale a dramatic feel and tone. One symbol in “Annabel Lee” is love. “In ‘Annabel Lee,” the poet celebrates this Uranian love: ‘we loved with a love that was more than love. ’ Poe repeats the word ‘love’ three times, as if to demonstrate the inadequacy of that human word for condition that is divine” (Johnson).
Such heavenly love is out of this world, hence the term used, “Uranian”. In divine love, there are no expectations and the love is unconditional. Poe says that his love for Annabel is very strong, stronger than those who were “older” and “wiser”. The poet believes that his love is the ultimate. Some critics connect this intenseness to the divine love of God (LitFinder). The second symbol of significant value is the child. This symbol relates to the aforementioned, love. The poet refers to himself and his lover as a “child” to describe the pure and innocent bond of the couple (Empric).
This term can be viewed as a metaphor. Their love is eternal, thus making them children forever. Also, one can perceive that the poet has remained a child due to the fact that he is unable to accept that dear one is dead. Children cannot keep track of time, and so the poet does not understand that he is living and dwelling in the past (Empric). Grieving over the memories of the past disable him from moving on. This symbol is brought up numerous times and loops different areas of the poem together. This beyond-human and heavenly love allows the poet to bring in supernatural lements into “Annabel Lee”. Poe talks about the angels in heaven who were jealous of this eternal love, which forced them to punish the lovers. The “highborn kinsmen” take Annabel away, separating her from the poet (Bloom 2). Celestial elements are also brought into scene as the moon portrays Annabel through personification and the stars take the place of the maiden’s eyes in the poet’s point of view. (Bloom 2). Although he was in a grieving process, Poe brought creative imagery and described beauty of the maiden and their extraordinary love. Theme is substantially vital in any poem.
However, here, the hidden themes are so essential, they bind the poem together. One may notice that many of the themes are intertwined with other themes, symbols and various elements. The relation of body and soul plays a significant role as the one of the chief themes in this poem. “In a lovely and sensuous image, the lover rejoins his beloved…The lovers reconnect—not in some ethereal distance, but in the flesh, down by the sea, in the tide, in the tomb itself” (Bloom 2). Although sleeping next to one’s tomb may seem obscene, this shows the lover’s tragic obsession.
At such a stage, the lovers can never be separated, even though death did them apart and they were on different planes of living. To follow up, grieving death of a loved one is also a major theme. Grief is prominent in literature involving death. In this poem, it is stated that Annabel died “many and many a year ago”. One may assume that the child like nature of the poet will not permit him to let go of the situation (Bily 3). Sleeping next to the tomb also shows the reader that grieving will go to any extent and the poet takes time to slowly acknowledge loss. The poet goes beyond death and uncovers reality.
Even after her death, Annabel Lee remains Poe’s “life and bride”. The atmosphere in this poem is created by various features. The “kingdom by the sea” brings in a romantic feeling. This is the setting of the eternal love of the couple, a fairy tale land, and the poet relates this “kingdom” to his beloved (Bily 2). The repetition of “kingdom by the sea” brings a hypnotic rhythm to the poem and establishes a calms and serene feeling at the beginning and flows through as he describes their love. One can believe that this might have been antagonizing for the poet; he place where he related love and joy is now the burial grounds for his wife. The meter of “Annabel Lee” is very lulling and slow. The wave-like flow of words emphasizes the “kingdom by the sea”. The echoing of rhyming words assists in forming the atmosphere (Bily 2). The meter is then suddenly changed in the mid of the poem. “In this (5) stanza, he adds an extra three-foot line: ‘Of those who were older than we-/ Of many far wiser than we-. ’ The unexpected change in rhythm jars the reader out of a lulled, dreamlike state for a moment, so that the irony of these two lines is not missed” (Bily 2).
This change reflects back to the state of mind of a child, to call attention to their love and make this point stand out. Edgar Allan Poe’s “Annabel Lee” is an enticing poem of eternal love and life in death. The eloquence of his poetry surpasses the common man’s words. Time separated the poet from his beloved. But the quality of love that he had for his adored took him beyond time to reunite with his wife. His language literally takes one to the divine state to the presence of divine love.