18 pages 36 minutes read

Edgar Allan Poe

Annabel Lee

Fiction | Poem | Adult | Published in 1849

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Love’s Enduring Power

Time and time again in “Annabel Lee” the narrator reminds the reader that true love—especially the true love he and Annabel Lee have—cannot be stopped by any earthly or heavenly force. It can be convincingly argued that the key passage in the poem occurs from Lines 30-33, when the narrator states that “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 notion that love is a force transcendent of any barrier placed in its path not only makes this one of Poe’s more forthrightly romantic poems but prioritizes the idea that death is not the end; rather, death is merely an additional barrier a lover must overcome in order to sustain the relationship with the object of their affection.

Certainly, an argument can be made that such a belief holds troubling connotations. There is, for instance, the implication of a recurring necrophiliac gesture in the poem’s final lines, describing the narrator’s nightly visits to Annabel Lee’s tomb that culminate with his climbing inside to sleep beside her until the following morning.

Yet one should not take such a reading too far.