Symbolism And Imagery In His Poetry
This poem begins It was many, many a year ago, In a kingdom by the sea. These first two lines use symbolism by giving an intense feeling of time and place like a fairytale fantasy world. The sea is mentioned here, giving an image of a powerful ocean breaking waves against the edge of the kingdom, symbolizing power and possible future destruction.
Later in the poem in line 20 the word kingdom is used again, right after high-born kinsmen, which also implies a strong symbolism of power and tyranny. In line 31, Poe states "nor the demons down under the sea," creating an image of the sea filled with demons as if one could see them swimming around, slithering beneath the top of the water implying just how dangerous it is (Poe, 1849, line 31). These words were chosen specifically to symbolize and give a vivid picture of the backdrop and scenery of Annabel Lee and her lover.Annabel Lee, herself, is one of the largest uses of symbolism in the entire poem. Poe states, "That a maiden there lived whom you may know," (Poe, 1849, line 3).
She is referred to as a maiden, which gives that once again fairytale feeling, and then by saying you may know her implies that she is possibly someone of importance, like a princess. Although not much else is spoke of her in detail, she is used at the beginning of the poem to represent sweetness and beauty and then again at the end of the poem to represent coldness and death. She is echoed over and over in the last ten lines of the poem, as if he is hoping it will bring her back. He guides you through their love from childhood until her untimely and unfortunate death.Poe uses the statement, "I was a child and she was a child," to give the readers a sense of a young love that blossoms into an unconditional love between Annabel Lee and her lover as he continues a few lines later, " But we loved with a love that was more than love," (Poe, 1849, line 7-10).
He uses these symbols to express just how strong and important their love was.At this point, Poe begins to change the atmosphere of the poem as he brings in the envy and jealousy of the angels saying, "With a love that the winged seraphs in Heaven, / Coveted her and me," (Poe, 1849, lines 11-12). The winged seraphs add more to the fairytale fantasy world, but unlike what most people would think of when they think of angels, Poe uses them to symbolize death and destruction through jealousy and envy. He uses this imagery of jealous angels swooping down and striking her dead out of discontent for their undying love for one another.
Poe seems to be implying that he feels cursed and that the heavens stole his joy, and that her relatives stole he body when he says, "So that her high-born kinsmen came, / And bore her away from me," (Poe, 1849, lines 17-18). This again gives the readers that feeling of her being someone of importance by using the words high-born kinsmen. One could even contemplate from this symbolism that her relatives may not have approved of him or even that they may blame him for her passing as they take her away to bury her.Upon her death, Poe uses the sepulchre she is placed in as a symbole of the cold reality of death, as well as a prison, "To shut her up in a sepulchre," (Poe, 1849, line 19).
Later, in line 40, the sepulchre replaces kingdom when being combined with the sea, as if to show that end the end death eventually replaces life.Poe finishes this poem with symbolism through thoughts of everyone else's failure to separate him from Annabel Lee; with hope because he will never let her go even in death, and with the great memories of her that no one can take away from him. He express intensely that neither the angels above nor the demons below can ever sever their souls from one another, (Poe, 1849, lines 30-33). He goes on to say that the moon brings him joyous dreams of her, and that he can see her eyes each night when the stars rise (Poe, 1849, lines 34-38).
He ends the poem with expressing his unconditional love by sleeping next to the sepulchre each night.This entire poem by Edgar Allan Poe is filled with symbolism and imagery which not only gives it more depth and understanding, but it also draws the readers in with all the emotional ups and downs of Annabel Lee's lover. From the joyous union as children, the unconditional love as young adults, through the suffering and sorrow of an untimely death, to the longing of being together again, Poe takes his readers on a ride in this fairytale world setting, and then leads them on a roller coaster ride of emotions before dropping them off at the end with the hope of great memories and never ending love.D.L. Pike and A.M. Acosta. (2013). (Eds.) Literature: A world of writing stories, poems, plays, and essays [VitalSource digital version] (p. 388).
Boston, MA: Pearson Learning Solutions. Retrieved from http://digitalbookshelf.southuniversity.edu/books/9780558711825/id/ch08box77Poe, E. (2013). Annabel Lee. In D.L. Pike and A.M. Acosta (Eds.) Literature: A world of writing stories, poems, plays, and essays [VitalSource digital version] (p. 388). Boston, MA: Pearson Learning Solutions. Retrieved from http://digitalbookshelf.southuniversity.edu/books/9780558711825/id/ch08box77
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