Summary and Analysis: Lines 21-41

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Lines 21-26:
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.

Lines 27-29:
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.

Lines 30-33:
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 she is rescued by the hero Perseus. Note the alliteration of the letter "d" in the words "demon," "down," "under," and "dissever" to create a heavy sound; the internal rhyme of "ever dissever" to create a melodious effect; and the repetition of "soul" to emphasize the extent of the lovers' union. These lines have been connected to St. Paul's Epistle to the Romans by Richard Wilbur. St. Paul's eighth chapter reads, "I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God."

Lines 34-37:
The speaker offers proof that his love for Annabel Lee is eternal. He explains that the "moon" and the "stars" are celestial messengers which bring her love to him in the form of "dreams" and in visions of her "eyes." Association of Annabel Lee with these heavenly bodies immortalizes her and her love. Alliteration of the consonant b occurs in the words "beams," "bringing," "beautiful," "but," and "bright." Internal rhyme exists in "beams" and "dreams" and in "rise" and "eyes."

Lines 38-41:
In these lines the speaker finally reveals the shocking fact that he visits Annabel Lee's tomb nightly, reposing there next to her. It is also in line 39 that the speaker reveals the fact that Annabel Lee was his "bride." The love he feels for her finds expression in repetition of the words "my darling" and in the statement that she is his "life." The rhymes "tide," "side," and "bride" create an auditory link between lines 38 and 39. The final two lines, in their parallel construction, both beginning with "in her" and ending with "the sea," create a strong sense of finality. For some readers, the double naming of the location to identify Annabel Lee's burial chamber ("sepulchre" and "tomb") as the setting of this eternal exchange has the eerie effect of allowing the theme of death to overshadow the theme of love in this poem.

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Summary and Analysis: Lines 1-20