How does "Annabel Lee" show elements of psychological torment?

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"Annabel Lee" was one of Edgar Allan Poe 's last poems, and like several others, its theme is the death of a lovely woman. Many critics believe that the inspiration for the poem was his marriage to his first cousin, Virginia. They obtained their marriage license when Poe...

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"Annabel Lee" was one of Edgar Allan Poe's last poems, and like several others, its theme is the death of a lovely woman. Many critics believe that the inspiration for the poem was his marriage to his first cousin, Virginia. They obtained their marriage license when Poe was 26 and Virginia was 13. The elements of psychological torment of the poem involve the premature death of the poet's lover, and Poe's wife Virginia died of tuberculosis at a very young age in 1847, two years before Poe himself died at the age of 40.

The poem claims that the angels in heaven envy the love of the young man and woman by the sea, and for this reason they send a chill wind to kill her and "shut her up in a sepulchre." This assertion is a reaction of grief, which is a form of psychological anguish or torment. The poet writes that "neither the angels in Heaven above nor the demons down under the sea" can separate him from the soul of Annabel Lee, but in fact he obsesses about his dead lover in her sepulchre and imagines himself there beside her in the tomb. These images, though beautifully expressed, also emphasize the psychological torment of grief for a lost love.

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There is no doubt that the narrator of "Annabel Lee" (presumably author Edgar Allan Poe himself) is suffering extreme heartache over the death of his love. His all-consuming sadness is not surprising for a man who has lost his mate under tragic circumstances, but his psychological torment extends even more deeply: He has taken to spending each night during the rising of the tide--the "night-tide"--with her "by her sepulchre by the sea." He seems to be wishing that he could join her there, possibly in death, by "her tomb by the side of the sea." He has given up his religion, blaming the angels--"the winged seraphs"--for jealously sending the cold wind from the clouds that killed his Annabel Lee. 

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