Edgar Allen Poe’s TributeThe poem “Annabel Lee” by Edgar Allen Poe is written to tell the story of the speaker’s greatest love. The speaker and Annabel Lee loved each other with “a love that was more than love” until she fell ill and died (9).
The speaker blames the angels for killing his darling and proves his love for her by attending her graveside every day for the rest of his life.One way the speaker demonstrates his love is by describing their home (the setting of the poem) as a “kingdom by the sea” (2). This means the speaker sees himself as royalty because the love he and Annabel Lee share makes him so incredibly wealthy and powerful. This power and wealth was so great, in fact, that “heaven coveted” the love about which Edgar Allen Poe wrote (10). The angels were jealous of this love being shared on earth, which was apparently more wonderful than anything they had experienced in heaven as angels. The use of the word “coveted” implies a darker meaning. This was not the simple jealousy of a teenage girl. The angels were committing a sin, breaking one of the commandments of their Divine Master by coveting the love between two of His children.
Finally, the speaker’s grief at her death further implies the depth and strength of their love. It is logical that the greater the love, the greater the grief; the inverse is also true: the greater the grief, the greater the love. Instead of merely being laid to rest in a coffin or a grave, death “shut her up in a sepulcher” there “by the sea” (19, 40). Sepulcher brings such dark connotations that we can almost see the speakershrouded in black after her death, mourning as deeply as the seanext to her tomb.Edgar Allen Poe contributed to the extremity of the poem by using a tone of reverence and pride. This is not some silly poem about puppy love. The love shared by Annabel Lee and the speaker was serious, and seems to be one we can only refer to with a sense of sobriety and admiration. In line 28, the speaker refers to his pride by comparing himself to those older and wiser, saying that hehad experienced a love that “was stronger by far” than anything those older and wiser had experienced.