17 pages 34 minutes read

Edgar Allan Poe

The Lake

Fiction | Poem | Adult | Published in 1827

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Symbols & Motifs


The lake is made up of water, which is a force of nature. The motif of water develops the theme of The Beauty of Nature. Nature’s beauty, in part, is due to its power. The lake’s waves being described as “poisonous” (Line 18) illustrates how they have the power to kill. Poison is often a liquid, developing the watery imagery. The gulf, or trough, of a wave is also described in deadly terms, as a “fitting grave” (Line 19). This comparison highlights how the bottom of a wave is like the hole in the earth that is created for a burial. Both the crests and troughs of the lake are dangerous. The deadly water of the lake also develops the theme of Hauntology and the Supernatural.


Another force of nature that appears in the poem is the wind. The wind, like the water, develops the theme of The Beauty of Nature. However, unlike the water, the wind is described in less deadly terms. The wind is “[m]urmuring in melody” (Line 10). The wind’s beauty comes from its sound, or musicality. Murmuring produces a low volume, indicating here that the wind is quiet or gentle.