“Lenore” is a poem of twenty-six lines in four stanzas, reflecting on the death at a young age of the fair Lenore. Most likely, the Lenore remembered in this poem is the same “rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore” who is mourned in another of Edgar Allan Poe’s poems, “The Raven.”
“Lenore” is a poem with at least two different speakers. The second and fourth stanzas are enclosed in quotation marks; the first and third, while not marked, are clearly spoken by a character or characters, not by an omniscient narrator. Beyond the quotation marks and a noticeable shift in tone and attitude, there is no indication who is speaking anywhere in the poem. Most critics have assumed that the poem presents a dialogue between Guy De Vere, Lenore’s grieving lover, and the family or priest of the dead woman.
The first stanza is addressed to Guy De Vere. In formal and very poetic language, the stanza announces the death of Lenore. She is described as a “saintly soul” and “the queenliest dead that ever died so young,” and yet there is no real mourning in this stanza. The stanza comments on the general sadness of a young woman dying, but there is no specific regret that Lenore herself has died. The tone is solemn and reverent but not truly sorrowful. The speakers ask De Vere why he has not cried.
The second stanza is spoken by De Vere. The tone here is much less restrained. The speaker rages against the...
(The entire section is 456 words.)