17 pages 34 minutes read

Edgar Allan Poe

The Lake

Fiction | Poem | Adult | Published in 1827

A modern alternative to SparkNotes and CliffsNotes, SuperSummary offers high-quality Study Guides with detailed chapter summaries and analysis of major themes, characters, and more.

Poem Analysis

Analysis: “The Lake”

This Edgar Allan Poe poem sometimes opens with a dedication to an unknown person, depending on the publication. For instance, the Academy of American Poets lists the title and dedication as “The Lake — To —” and the Signet Classics edition of The Complete Poetry of Edgar Allan Poe lists the title and dedication as “The Lake: To —.” The dash replaces a person’s name. While the addressee is anonymous, the speaker is considered to be Poe himself. In the initial publication of the poem, and in some modern reprintings, the dedication is not included.

In the first stanza, the speaker remembers a place he used to visit when he was young, and sets a nostalgic tone. His descriptions pair the lake’s beauty with its haunting qualities. In the opening lines, it is the speaker’s “lot / To haunt of the wide earth a spot” (Lines 1-2). Initially, he is the one who does the haunting. The diction (word choice) of haunting being the speaker’s “lot,” (Line 1) or role, indicates it is something he was assigned to do, rather than a conscious choice.