Annabel Lee Questions and Answers
by Edgar Allan Poe

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What are the subject, tone, and mood of "Annabel Lee" by Edgar Allan Poe?

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Valentine England eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Edgar Allen Poe's poem "Annabel Lee" tells the tale of an unnamed narrator who falls in love with a beautiful woman named Annabel Lee. This romance takes place in a "kingdom by the sea" and begins when the two lovers are quite young. Despite their age, they love fiercely. Tragically, the relationship is cut short by Annabel Lee's death, and her family takes her body away to have it buried. Still, the narrator cannot forget the woman.

Although it begins cheerfully enough, both the tone and mood of this poem turn quickly toward the gloomy, morose, and somber. The poem deals, like so much of Poe's work, with untimely death and with the feeling of being "haunted." We can see this in both the subject matter and the word choice used ("chilling and killing," "dissever my soul," "demons down under the sea," and so on).

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krounds eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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"Annabel Lee" is a ballad poem written by Edgar Allan Poe. It tells the story of the narrator and his lover, and her death. Poe emphasizes the unearthly nature of Annabel Lee and the speaker's love by assigning jealousy to the angels in heaven, stating that they 'coveted' their love. By elevating the essence of their love, the speaker in a sense justifies his inability to move on. The tone of the poem is very nostalgic and the language Poe employs adds a mythical quality to the piece. The actual rhyme scheme and format of the poem allows for a musical quality that only adds to the haunting desire for yesteryear. The mood is cold and bitter and seems to suggest that the individual telling the story is willfully tortured. This willful torture is best displayed in the last stanza when it is revealed that he sleeps in Annabel Lee's tomb.  

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pohnpei397 eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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The subject of the poem "Annabel Lee," by Edgar Allan Poe is the death of the narrator's love, Annabel Lee.  The narrator tells us about how the two of them were childhood sweethearts who loved each other and (presumably) got married.  He then tells how she died and how devastated he continues to be by her loss.

I would say that the tone and mood of the poem are somber.  His attitude toward Annabel Lee and her death is clearly a sad one.  He continues to miss her and sleep in her tomb.  I don't think you could say that that is anything but sad and somber.

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answerlocker | Student

The tone is light hearted while the mood is serious and dark.