In the poem “Annabel Lee” written by Edgar Allan Poe in 1849, we picked passages to enhance the perfection and the purity of the lovers’ feelings as well as the ensuing defeat of the jealous angels.
First, we will present the perfect love between the two characters. Then we will talk about the angels’ reaction.
First of all, Annabel Lee is described as a pure lover at the beginning, in verse 3. She is said to be “a maiden”, which means she is a young virgin. This is a proof that their love is extremely pure and ideal. Then, a few lines further down, this idea is reflected in the word ‘child’: adding innocence to her character and making their love even rarer and different from the complex, sometimes less intense, love of the adults.
The perfection of their love is accentuated by the fact that the two kids love everything, not only one another, not just a mutual love, but they love the entire world. It is a powerful idea shown in “we loved” verse 9. The author doesn’t say “we loved each other” but just “we loved”. What’s more, in only one verse, he repeats 3 times the word “love”. Poe wants to create a hypnotic and repeating effect, to make their passion more intense, deep and special.
Verses 5 and 6; there is again the childish, pure and innocent point of view because it looks like they think love is a fairy-tale whereas it will turn in the opposite way. Indeed, her entire existence, day in and day out, is dedicated to love him and to be loved by him. Consequently, she only thinks about love and nothing else, she has no physical needs like eating or sleeping, it’s as if love were the fuel of her life, or better still, as if she were love itself.
These are the reasons why the angels feel inferior and not as perfect and pure as the children’s love, which is purely spiritual and therefore supernatural. They see this love as not acceptable for humans who can’t surpass angels; and that’s why they will kill Annabel Lee later.
The evocation of Seraphs is not the poem’s only allusion to religion. This poem refers to the Bible as we can see verses 10, 11 and 22. “To covet” is what one of the Ten Commandments forbids humans to do, whereas ‘to envy’ is one of the seven capital sins and it has quite the same meaning as “to covet”.
Then (verse 11) the author talks about “seraphims”. It is a type of angel which has the highest rank in the Christian angelic hierarchy. The seraphims are the closest to God. They are the ones who are never supposed to betray him.
However, in this poem they do and by doing so, they are no better than demons. This can be justified in verses 30-33 by the words ‘neither’ and ‘nor’ that makes us deduce that they are defined as working on the same side, the same team and they are becoming criminals. They both fail miserably. The demons and the angels wanted to separate the two lovers, but they didn’t succeed. In reality, the poet did not let the demons separate him from Annabel Lee.
The angels’ failure is obvious not only because their efforts are of no avail but also because they are actually counter-productive, what they achieve is worse than the status quo.
In verse 16, the author says ‘my Annabel Lee’ whereas in verse 33 he says ‘the beautiful Annabel Lee’. By this way, we can notice an evolution: she doesn’t belong to him anymore, neither to the angels. Indeed, the word “the” explains that she now belongs to everyone: she is universal. Instead of destroying her, they make her even more beautiful with the expression “the beautiful Annabel Lee”. The fact that “beautiful” appears now that she is dead means that to a degree, she becomes beautiful at the moment of her death. To add on, the last three times the author mentions Annabel Lee; it could be heard as an echo of the waves, perhaps.
The poet also managed to pass on the idea that the angels failed by using the present tense in the last stanza. The entire poem is written in the preterit except the last stanza, which happens after Annabel Lee dies. In fact, it is a complete reversal. It is a way to suggest that she is still alive, not physically but at least her spirit. Death becomes life. We picked an interesting quote: “for the moon never beams without bringing me dreams”, what we can understand from this is that every night he sees her in his dreams: she is again present as a spirit and not dead; something negative becomes positive.
The author uses the double negations “never” and “without, then “never” and “but” to express something affirmative. This is a device that the author uses because it is a more interesting and effective way to confirm the idea that her death has led to a sort of rebirth. He could have written “the moon always beams with dreams of Annabel Lee” but the theme of the rebirth would have been lost.
Annabel Lee is the reason of the poem and she is clearly the only thing the speaker can think about. Nevertheless, we don’t have many details about her, no description whatsoever (LINK WITH CLEOPATRA??). That’s why one can see Annabel Lee as a symbol of impossibility and purity, not to say perfection and so the embodiment of a nearly supernatural form of love that made the angels jealous.Interestingly, the poet never really shows any anger for them; verse 21 actually reveals that he pities them for their lack of happiness compared to A Lee and himself which, for one thing, enhances how happy the latter were and secondly, is arguably a little sarcastic. The truth to the matter is that pitying them or making fun of them clearly points to their undisputable defeat
Matahari, with Nina, Fara and Margot.