"Annabel Lee" was the last poem that Poe composed, and was first published in November, 1849, in The Southern Literary Messenger, a month or so after his death. It is comprised of six stanzas, three of which have six lines and three of which have eight lines, with the rhyme pattern differing slightly in each one.
The poem is related by a first-person voice who was actively involved in the events which he now recounts. Akin to a fairy story, the narrator transports us to a kingdom by the sea that existed in the remote past, when both he and his beloved Annabel Lee were just children. Despite their youth, their love for each other was unsurpassed, so strong that even angels in heaven "coveted" it.
Because of their jealousy, a cold wind chills Annabel Lee in the third stanza. She dies and her body is carried away to the grave by "high-born kinsmen." Even though they have been separated by death, the angels continue to envy the love that remains between the narrator and his child bride.
Indeed, as the narrator proclaims in the penultimate fifth stanza, nothing can ever sever the bonds that join him to his love. He is always reminded of her beauty by the sight of the moon and the stars, dreaming of her every night as she lays "in her tomb by the side of the sea."
(The entire section is 232 words.)
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Summary and Analysis
Summary and Analysis: Lines 1-20
Poe introduces the setting of "Annabel Lee" in these lines. Though vague, his use of "many and many a year ago" shows with its repetition that the poem will tell about an event that occurred in the far past. The physical location "a kingdom by the sea" and the use of the abstract time frame produce a romantic, legendary quality for the narrative setting. These lines also establish the rhythmical use of anapests and iambs. Here, however, the first two syllables may be read as a spondee, a combination of two stressed syllables in a row. If one emphasizes both words "It was" and keeps stress also on the first syllable of "many," the poem begins with the strong effect of three stressed syllables in a row.
These lines introduce the character of Annabel Lee. Her description as someone "whom you may know" adds to the legendary quality of the poem, and the use of the personal pronoun "you" creates a feeling of intimacy between the speaker and the reader.
The speaker's relationship to Annabel Lee is introduced in these lines. Her devotion to the speaker, whom we later learn (in line 39) was her husband, appears in the fact that her only thought was to "love and be loved" by the speaker. The repetition of "love"/"loved" emphasizes the relationship between the two.
The repetition of the word "child" in line 7...
(The entire section is 595 words.)
Summary and Analysis: Lines 21-41
This stanza repeats the speaker's belief that the envious angels caused Annabel Lee's death by blowing a chilling wind from the cloudy sky. All this repetition serves to emphasize the conflict in the poem, the loss of the speaker's love. Line 21 uses alliteration in its repetition of h, a sound that suggests the airy blowing of wind. The word "Yes," followed by an exclamation mark, creates the first hint of a frantic tone that will develop in the last two stanzas. The phrase "as all men know" in line 23 adds to that legendary quality of the poem. The refrain appears again in line 24. And a rhyme link occurs in "chilling" and "killing" (lines 25 and 26) which emphasizes the horror of Annabel Lee's death and sets the mood for the desperate method of mourning that the speaker unveils in the last stanza.
These lines continue to elevate the relationship between the speaker and his bride by repeating the word, "love," and by stating that they love more than even older and wiser people.
In these lines the speaker asserts his faithfulness to Annabel Lee, a loyalty that transcends death. The "angels" have already been referred to as those jealous of the extraordinary love between the speaker and his bride. The phrase "demons down under the sea" brings to mind the Greek myth of Andromeda, who is about to be devoured by a sea monster when...
(The entire section is 578 words.)