English D323


The poem entitled, “Annabel Lee” by Edgar Allan Poe, addresses the challenges of love, lost, and lust for one’s significant other. The poem starts off with a brief description of how the poet and his beloved maiden have met in a Kingdom by the sea. Poe loved this maiden but tragedy struck when a gentle breeze blew into his lover’s chambers and caused her to feel ill. After the maiden’s untimely death, the poet felt distraught and blamed the cause of her death to be angels filled with envy. After the maiden passed away, the poet decided to lay with the maiden’s tomb and sleep next to her decaying body. Poe’s poem is filled with insight on the topics of love, the life of highborn, and the idea of envy.

One of the main topics this poem revolves around is the idea of love. Throughout most of the poem, Poe talked about a special kind of love that no other can compare. Poe had this idea that the relationship the maiden and him had were stronger than those who were much more elder and wiser than he and his beloved. This idea of loving someone as much as he did can be seen as his very-own obsession. It also seems unlikely that there was a love that blossomed between the two to begin with. Poe wasn’t a man who came from a family of fortune, but he talked about loving this unnamed maiden who lived in a grand kingdom by the sea. Although they were the same age, that didn’t mean the maiden acknowledged Poe to be her beloved. And his obsession continued even after their childhood was over. After the maiden felt ill and died, Poe decided to lay with his deceased “bride” on her tombstone. It was clear that Poe had this obsession when he stated, “Nor the demons down under the sea/Can ever dissever my soul from the soul/Of the beautiful Annabel Lee (31-33)”, to show how connected he felt to the maiden. Although the topic of a highborn marrying someone of her own free will is ideal, it was very unlikely. In the 17th century, it was actually common for nobility to marry others who came from money. This proves that Poe may not have been truthful when calling the maiden his “bride” but instead spawned the idea that he and this maiden had this unbreakable connection to one another. And when the maiden died and escaped the twisted fantasy that Poe had for her, he blamed it on the angels who had nothing but envy for the two.

As previously stated, a highborn usually has a lavish lifestyle and is obligated to marry one who also came from money. But there is also a direct correlation that connects the gods and the nobles. In european history, there were kings who believed that their power was divine. It also can be said that these kings, such as Louis XIV, had a God Complex. Kings who had divine rights believed that their power to rule over the country comes from the direct power of the gods and anything they said were law. This ties into the poem because the maiden was highborn and was punished by the gods for allegedly falling for someone who is of lower class. It was the angels that sent a breeze into the maiden’s chamber and killing her in the process. But instead of it being a punishment from the gods, it can also be seen as setting the maiden free of her obligations and freeing her from the possessiveness that stems from Edgar Allan Poe. Poe was also fully aware that he can never be with this maiden. On lines, 17-18, it stated, “ So that her highborn kinsmen came/And bore her away from me.” This shows that the family of his so-called beloved did not approve of the relationship the two had together and defeats the allegations Poe made by calling the maiden his “bride”.

There was also the topic of how the angels were envious of the love that was shared between Poe and his maiden. As previously stated, the angels were supposedly jealous of the poet’s love. It is true that the topic of envy is something to be treated lightly because of the great lengths characters go just to accomplish a goal. An example being Othello, where Iago was envious of Cassio for receiving the title of “Lieutenant” without having any experience in war. In the end, Iago stripped Cassio of his title and destroyed Cassio’s reputation. To pull this off, Rodrigo manipulated the trust of Othello, the man who leads the army, and Desdemona, Othello’s wife. But there was no act of envy that took place in the poem, “Annabel Lee”. Rather than the angels being envious of the love the two characters shared, it was actually Poe’s possessiveness that created the scenario as an excuse for why the maiden met an untimely death before filling the greed he felt inside in his heart. Poe longed for maiden’s hand but reality and the many beliefs that nobles only wed nobles were the obstacles that prevented this type of love from ever being more than Poe’s lust for the maiden.

“Annabel Lee” by Edgar Allan Poe is filled with a dark, gloomy mood that describes the kind of “love” the poet felt for the maiden, Annabel Lee. Even though the feelings were unrequited, Poe yearned for the maiden and created an excuse to connect the two together. Not even death can destroy the love he felt for the maiden. Instead of the angels being the one that killed her, it might as well have been Poe’s possessiveness that drove the maiden to feel ill and led to her demise because a breeze in the middle of the night is unrealistic to be the cause of someone’s death. And in death, the maiden is freed from the clutches of Poe and the obligations that comes with being an heiress to a kingdom by the sea.