Annabel Lee As A Representation Of Dark Romanticism In The American Literature

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“Poetry is the rhythmical creation of beauty in words.” Edgar Allan Poe. American Romanticism emerged in America between 1800- 1860. Poetry is one of the Romanticisms forms. In addition, Dark Romantics is also one of the branches of Romanticisms. Poets who saw themselves in this genre preferred the countryside, a place to thrive within. Unlike, the Rationalists who thought of the city a place to flourish in. Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849) is one of the most important Dark Romantics poets in the 19th century. Poe was an American poet, writer and sketcher. Furthermore, since his childhood to his death, Poe’s life was a very hard one. This was obviously shown and reflected in his work of literature. Edgar, like his peers used dark imaginative pictures, along with harsh themes in his writings. Poe’s dark representation work of art was not limited to writing. However, most of it had common themes, such as darkness, sadness, soreness and death. Such as, The Raven and Annabel Lee (1849). This essay discusses American Romanticism and analyses one of Poe’s famous poems Annabel Lee.

“Annabel Lee” was the last poem written by Allan; it was published right after his death. Many theories assume that “Annabel Lee” represents Poe’s wife, who died of a young age of an illness. In addition, illustrations of these dark themes such as death were used along with imagination. “The Romantic journey is both a flight from something and a flight to something.” (Michael A. Elliott, Sandra M. Gustafson, etal, 2017) In other words, it is a key to draw on the mind of the reader. Poe also is well known in talking about the dark sides in life and madness. “He was called crazy by the society of literature.” (Baltimore, 1997)

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For instance, the short stories The Tell-Tale Heart and The Black Cat. Furthermore, he often describes death and graves. For example, “Annabel Lee” is a good reference to the theme of grief and death. In contrast, this poem talks about the loss of the writer’s lover, it also honors love and it immortalizes it. The writer devotes his love to “Annabel” even after her death “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.” (Michael A. Elliott, Sandra M. Gustafson, etal, 2017). Unlike, in “The Raven” the speaker often repeats a popular quote “Nevermore” that hints that the speaker will never reunite with his lost woman again.

Poe starts “Annabel Lee” with “It was many and many a year ago.” The writer uses fairy tale style to begin his poem. Similar to using “Once upon a time.” That is oftentimes used in the fairy tales or the stories (Bily, Jan, 2002) In “Annabel Lee” Poe indicates that this love is an innocent one. He mentioned that this love began since they were children. However, the surrounding of this love killed it away. Perhaps Poe is giving some clue of his real life events. To illustrate, Poe was rejected by the society on many levels. His marriage to a very young lady is one of them. Besides the reflection in Poe’s real life calamities in his work, the writer often uses a repetition method in almost all of his writings, in particular poems. Thus, this repetition in “Lee’s” makes the rhyme “Me, sea, Lee.” falls under one beat or singular sound. “Ostensibly, ‘Annabel Lee’ has a seemingly inconsistent rhyme scheme, and each stanza is distinctly different. The first stanza is asymmetrical (ABABCB). The other stanzas are as follows: second—ABCBDB, third—ABCBDBEB, fourth—ABCBDB, fifth—ABBABCB, and sixth—ABCBDDBB.” (Dumas, 2019) “Annabel Lee” shows complexity in its form, yet it is written in a simple way to be read. Therefore, “this poem was adapted to the format of songs and on stage.” (Ibid).

Poe is using another storytelling technique in “Annabel Lee” which is the setting; where the place and time could play a great character in the story or the poem. The writer emphasizes on mentioning the place “In this kingdom by the sea.” where he lost and awaits for his Annabel besides her grave. In fact, Poe’s repeating “In this kingdom by the sea.” Indeed, emphasis the importance of this place to the speaker. On the contrary, “Angels” in Poe’s poem are demons. Allan portraits angels as they were jealous of the speaker and Annabel. He refers to the angels in an ironic way that they envy this love to the extent that they killed Annabel. For instance, “The angles, not half so happy in heaven, went envying her and me.” Illustrating angles along with using the supernatural element in this way differs far from the traditional way of writing in work of literate. Finally, this artist who once was called “mad” is highly celebrated all around the world and his work of art is been transformed into different form of arts. (Baltimore, 1997)

In conclusion, “Annabel Lee” is a great example of the Dark Romanticism in the American Literature of the 19th century. Moreover, “Annabel Lee” could be considered as a good reflection on Poe’s real life. In addition, Poe is using the fairy tale and storytelling techniques in his poem. The simplicity of this poem made it to a variety of adaptation, like songs. Finally, the mention of angels and the supernatural makes Poe’s writing a modern one. 


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