The Pain of Grieving in Annabel Lee, a Poem by Edgar Allan Poe

Topics: Annabel Lee

Everyone copes with the death of a loved one in different ways. Some celebrate, some send their belongings with them through the fire, and some grieve. Grievance for a loved one can be so strong at times, that even life can seem like it is taunting them. Their sadness becomes so overwhelming that a desire to find an explanation for their death is an adventure that can lead to irrational conclusions. In the poem “Annabel Lee”, Edgar Allen Poe utilizes allusion, personification, and diction to depict that, after death, a griever will desperately search for a reason why their loved one has died because they feel they need someone or something to blame.

Poe applies allusion to give himself someone to account for Annabel Lee’s death. He begins describing the love that he and Annabel Lee had. He says that “the winged seraphs of Heaven / coveted her and me” (lines 11-12). Poe has blamed the highest order of angelic beings for the death of the woman he loves.

He has turned this biblical reference which common society sees as full of innocence, purity, and light into something that can be envious, dark, and selfish. This isn’t a logical reason as to why Annabel Lee has been taken from him forever. For this man that is grieving, it doesn’t matter what is logical and illogical.

All he knows is that the person he has loved so intensely is now gone and there has to be a justifiable reason for it.

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He feels so overwhelmed with love even after she is dead that he has the confidence to say that “The angels [are] not half as happy in heaven” even though they have Annabel Lee because he feels that their love is still there beyond death. In his thoughts, he has convinced himself that without his death, the angels haven’t accomplished their goals of fully snatching their love.

Then, Poe even comes to a point to blame inanimate objects with personification to describe how Annabel Lee dies. In stanza three, the narrator tells us how the seraphs killed her by sending “A wind [that] blew out of a cloud, chilling / [his] beautiful Annabel Lee” (lines 15-16). This wind is something that took the last breath out of Annabel Lee in the night. It can be interpreted that Annabel Lee was extremely sick or died of natural causes, given that Poe tells us that the angels killed her rather than someone in specific. Therefore, he is trying to find a reason for her death because he is trying to find closure. Her life essentially passed like the wind and he is trying to blame everyone he can including heaven and the wind.

Poe utilizes diction to indict specific people/people/ideas and talks about Annabel Lee being taken from him. After Annabel Lee dies, she is “bore … away from” him by her “highborn kinsmen” (lines 17-18). He claims that her family stole her away after she dies. He uses “highborn kinsmen” in a way that makes them sound like they are similar to royalty, therefore the speaker is portraying that her family thinks of themselves as in a higher ranking than they find permission to take her away from him. Then again, in this poem, Poe – as the speaker – is biased, and blames everyone and everything (supernatural or not) for Annabel Lee being spiritually and physically taken away from him. He blames them for “[shutting] her up in a sepulcher” where she is separated from him through the cold walls of her tomb (line 19). He has decided in his head that everyone is against him and Annabel Lee including “those who were older than [them]/… [and] far wiser than [them)”. He uses these words because now that Annabel Lee – his love – is gone, he cannot find a reason why she could have been taken. He knows that even though she is dead, he wants to be close to her, but her family takes her away to bury her. He does not recognize they could be grieving as well because they have to bury someone they love too. He does not see that anyone else in the town could be grieving because he believes they are all against him as well. Even from the beginning,ning he says, “…a maiden there lived whom you may know”, which would show the perspective that he isn’t expecting the person he is speaking to remember because he feels that he is the only one that currently, and previously cared (line 3). His feelings toward those who may have been involved, and those who he can see spiritually involved, cannot feel what he feels toward Annabel Lee and they are not capable of understanding their love because it is too strong, so strong, he believes it is lasting through death.

In Edgar Allen Poe’s poem, “Annabel Lee” he presents the perspective of a lover whose fiancé has had a sudden death. He is grieving in such a way that he cannot believe that she simply passed away. He searches for someone or something to blame and believes that no one will understand or feel what he feels. It is a passion so far in-depth, that he believes it could have been envied by heaven itself, which he believes is the reason Annabel Lee died. In reality, death is hard to deal with and a person that is grieving will convince themselves that there must be a reason for everything, including death.

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The Pain of Grieving in Annabel Lee, a Poem by Edgar Allan Poe. (2022, Jun 18). Retrieved from https://paperap.com/the-pain-of-grieving-in-annabel-lee-a-poem-by-edgar-allan-poe/

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