What is the moral of the poem "Annabel Lee"? In other words, what should the reader learn after reading this poem?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

One theme of this poem addresses the endurance and strength of love. The speaker of the poem feels that he and his lover, the titular Annabel Lee , actually "loved with a love that was more than love"; he seems to believe that they are soulmates, that their souls...

See
This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Get 48 Hours Free Access

One theme of this poem addresses the endurance and strength of love. The speaker of the poem feels that he and his lover, the titular Annabel Lee, actually "loved with a love that was more than love"; he seems to believe that they are soulmates, that their souls can never be "dissever[ed]," even in death. He believes that the love they share is so special that not even the angels could understand it, and so they "coveted" this love; however, no angels or demons can do anything to separate their two souls, even though, he believes, the angels sent the wind that was responsible for "Chilling and killing" the beautiful and young Annabel Lee.

We can also learn from the poem, however, that an obsession with mortality can lead to some strange and perverse behaviors. For example, the narrator seems unable to let go of the loss of his lover, and he looks for someone to blame for her death; having no other option, it seems, he chooses to blame the angels (which contradicts what most people who believe in angels would suggest about them). In the end, he says that he goes to her tomb, where her body was interred upon her death, and he "lie[s] down by [her] side." Now, we likely sympathize with him up until now: he is in love and he has lost the woman he believes to be his soulmate. This is, by all accounts, incredibly sad. However, learning that he goes to sleep by her dead body within her tomb every night likely changes our perspective. Love is wonderful, and it is heartbreaking to lose a loved one, but we also have to recognize that we continue to live, even when they die.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team