..
.

DVD

DVD

DVD

DVD

DVD

DVD
House of Usher
Pit and the Pendulum
Masque of Red Death
Premature Burial
Tomb of Ligeia
An Evening With Poe
The Mystery
Of Edgar Allan Poe
The Comedy of Terrors
The Raven
Poe: a Light
And Enlightening Look
Annabel Lee
By Edgar Allan Poe  (1809-1849)
A Study Guide
cummings@cummingsstudyguides.net
Cummings Guides Home..|..Other Poe Study Guides
.
Setting
Characters
Publication Date
Theme
Romeo and Juliet Motif
The Real Annabel Lee
Rhyme, Rhythm, Repetition
Word Choice
Use of Alliteration
Imagery
Annotated Text
Poe's Original Text 1, 2
.
Study Guide Compiled by Michael J. Cummings..© 2005
.
Setting: The narrator (persona) writes about a fictional kingdom along the ocean shore. It is an idyllic, beautiful, land of enchantmenta paradise on earth—where he and Annabel Lee fell in love as adolescents. One can imagine that they strolled the beaches, hand in hand, in gentle breezes while the sun went down and the tide rushed in. This kingdom, where love ruled their hearts, remains dear to the memory of the poet after Annabel Lee dies, for his soul remains united with hers.
Characters Narrator (persona): A man of deep sensibility who extolls a young maiden with whom he fell deeply in love. Annabel Lee: Beautiful young maiden loved by the poet. She was of noble birth, as Line 17 of Stanza 1 suggests when it says she had “highborn” relatives. Annabel Lee probably represents Poe's wife, who died at a young age. Seraphs: Members of the highest order of angels around the throne of God. According to the Bible, they each had three pairs of wings. In the poem, the seraphs are so envious of the love between the narrator and Annabel Lee that they cause Annabel’s death. Relative of Annabel Lee: A  “highborn kinsman” (Line 17, Stanza 1) who carries away and entombs her body. 
Date of Publication: "Annabel Lee" was published on October 9, 1849, in the New York Daily Tribune
Theme Eternal love. The love between the narrator and Annabel Lee is so strong and beautiful and pure that even the seraphs, the highest order of angels in heaven, envy it. They attempt to kill this love by sending a chilling wind that kills Annabel Lee. However, the love remains alive—eternal—because the souls of the lovers remain united. The death of a beautiful woman is a common theme in Poe’s writing.
Romeo and Juliet Motif: Like Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, the narrator and Annabel Lee are both very young when they fall deeply in love. In addition, like Shakespeare’s “star-crossed” lovers, Poe’s lovers become victims of forces beyond their control. Finally, the narrator and Annabel Lee—like Romeo and Juliet—experience a love beyond the understanding of older persons. (See the opening lines of the second stanza.)
The Real Annabel Lee: The model for Annabel Lee was probably Poe’s wife, Virginia Clemm, whom he married when she was only 13. Their marriage was a very happy one. Unfortunately, she died of tuberculosis in January 1847 when she was still in her twenties. Poedied two years and nine months later—on October 7, 1849. “Annabel Lee” was his last poem.
Rhyme, Rhythm, Repetition: Poe uses three R’s—rhyme, rhythm, and repetition—in “Annabel Lee” to create a harmony of sounds that underscore the exquisite harmony of the narrator’s relationship with his beloved. 
    Rhyme and Repetition

    Throughout the poem, Poe repeats the soud of long "e." For example, in the first stanza, Line 2 ends with sea, Line 4 with Lee, and Line 6 with me. Stanzas 2 and 3 repeat the sea, Lee, me pattern, although Stanza 3 adds a second end-rhyming sea. Stanza 4 alters the pattern to me, sea, and Lee. Stanza 5 uses we, we, sea, and Lee; the last stanza uses Lee, Lee, sea, and sea. A notable example of internal rhyme occurs in the last line of Stanza 4: “Chilling and killing my Annabel Lee.”

    Rhythm and Repetition


    The lines of the poem alternate in length between a long line (usually with 9 to 11 syllables) and a short line (usually with 6 to 8 syllables), as in the first stanza:

      It was many and many a year ago, (11 syllables)

      In a kingdom by the sea, (7 syllables)
      That a maiden there lived whom you may know (10 syllables)
      By the name of Annabel Lee (8 syllables)
      And this maiden she lived with no other thought (11 syllables)
      Than to love and be loved by me. (8 syllables)

    Poe repeats this rhythmic pattern throughout the poem, perhaps to suggest the rise and fall of the tides. He also repeats key phrases—such as in this kingdom by the sea and my Annabel Lee (or my beautiful Annabel Lee)—to create haunting refrains. In addition, Poe sometimes repeats words or word patterns within a single line, as in (1) many and many a year ago, (2) we loved with a love that was more than love, and (3) my darling—my darling. Poe further enhances the rhythm of the poem with the repetition of consonant sounds (alliteration). Notice, for example, the repetition of the “w” and “l” sounds in this line in Stanza 2: But we loved with a love that was more than love." Poe sometimes couples repetition of consonant sounds with repetition of vowel sounds, as in many and many, love and be loved, and those who were older than we.

.
Word Choice: Poe carefully chose the words of the poem to evoke a dreamland or fairytale atmosphere. It was many and many a year ago, for example, echoes the traditional fairytale opening of once upon a time. The words kingdom, maiden, andchild then lead the reader into the never-never land, with kingdom suggesting chivalry and romance, maiden suggesting innocence, and child suggesting the wonderment of youth. Although he first uses sepulchre (Stanza 3) to refer to Annabel Lee's burial chamber—then repeats it in the seventh line of Stanza 6—he uses tomb in the last line of the poem to refer to her resting place. Tomb has a more ominous connotation, suggesting finality. It also has a more deathly ring, like the cavernous toll of a funeral bell. 
Use of Alliteration:Poe relies heavily on alliteration in "Annabel Lee" to create pleasing sound patterns. Following are examples of alliteration in the poem: 
    That the wind came out of the cloud by night,
    Chilling and killing my Annabel Lee......................(Alliterating words: came, cloud, killing)

    But our love it was stronger by far than the love
    Of those who were older than we—
    Of many far wiser than we—................................(Alliterating words: was, were, we, wiser, we. Who does not alliterate because it has an h sound.)

ImageryDarkness and Light: Implied and explicit images of darkness and light occur throughout the poem. Poe implies that the  kingdom by the sea is a bright, cheerful place where the sun shines on two young lovers, the narrator and Annabel Lee. Ironically, in another realm of dazzling light—heaven—the highest order of angels, the Seraphim, grow dark with envy of the young couple. Under cover of night, they send a cold wind that kills Annabel Lee: "The wind came out of the cloud by night, / Chilling and killing my Annabel Lee." But the narrator says he remains in a realm of light, for his soul and the soul of Annabel Lee are one. In the last stanza, Poe emphasizes this point with light imagery:
    For the moon never beams without bringing me dreams
    Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
    And the stars never rise but I feel the bright eyes
    Of the beautiful Annabel Lee.
Thus, his beloved becomes the moon and the stars shining down on him from the sepulchral night sky. 
.

.
Need help with Shakespeare? Click here for Study Guides on the Complete Works
.
.
.
Annabel Lee
By Edgar Allan Poe
Complete Text With Annotation and Endnotes by Michael J. Cummings

1

It was many and many a year ago,
In a kingdom by the sea, 
That a maiden there lived whom you may know
By the name of Annabel Lee;
And this maiden she lived with no other thought
Than to love and be loved by me.

Notice the recurrence of the m, n,
l, and b sounds (alliteration).

2
I was a child and she was a child,
In this kingdom by the sea;
But we loved with a love that was more than love—
I and my Annabel Lee;
With a love that the wingéd seraphs of heaven
Coveted her and me.

Poe uses child twice in the first line, mimicking the use of many twice in the first line of the previous stanza. He also reserves the fourth line for a reference to Annabel Lee, as he did in the first stanza and as he does in Stanza 3.
Coveted: envied, resented



3
And this was the reason that, long ago,
In this kingdom by the sea,
A wind blew out of a cloud, chilling
My beautiful Annabel Lee;
So that her highborn kinsman came
And bore her away from me,
To shut her up in a sepulchre
In this kingdom by the sea.

this was the reason: the seraphs' envy
long ago: these words echo many a year ago in Line 1, Stanza 1.
a cloud: Using these words instead of the sky infuses foreboding and gloom while symbolizing the dark envy of the seraphs.
selpulchre: British spelling of sepulcher. Britain, of course, has always had a monarchy, the type of government that would rule in a "kingdom by the sea."



4
The angels, not half so happy in heaven,
Went envying her and me—
Yes!—that was the reason (as all men know,
In this kingdom by the sea)
That the wind came out of the cloud by night,
Chilling and killing my Annabel Lee.

out of a cloud by night: Use of this phrase emphasizes the dark envy of the angels and their sneaky scheme (which unfolds under the cover of night).
chilling and killing: an example of internal rhyme



5
But our love it was stronger by far than the love
Of those who were older than we—
Of many far wiser than we—
And neither the angels in heaven above,
Nor the demons down under the sea,
Can ever dissever my soul from the soul
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee.

The narrator here focuses on three worlds: (1) earth, the realm of humans; (2) heaven, the realm of angels; and (3) hell, the realm of demons. The love between him and Annabel is stronger than any other earthly love and can survive the sinister efforts of the angels and the demons to sabotage it.
ever, dissever: internal rhyme



6
For the moon never beams without bringing me dreams
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And the stars never rise but I feel the bright eyes
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side
Of my darling—my darling—my life and my bride,
In the sepulchre there by the sea,
In her tomb by the sounding sea.

Poe stresses imagery of light in this stanza, associating moonbeams with dreams about his beloved and the radiance of stars with her eyes. In the sixth line, he uses a figure of speech called anaphora when he writes the word my four times.
 

.
....

DVD
Murders in the Rue Morgue, Black Cat, Other Tales

Book
Complete Stories and Poems

DVD
Cask of Amontillado, Tell-Tale Heart

.
Poe Study Guides
.