Beauty and Death Essay
In his essay, “The Philosophy of Composition”, he analyses his work and explains what is significant in poetry. He especially scrutinizes “The Raven”.
He believes that length, “unity of effect” is an imperative consideration for good writing. Poe believed that all literary works should be short. “There is”, he writes, “a distinct limit..
. o all works of literary art – the limit of a single sitting. ” According to Poe, “ As commonly used, the refrain, or burden, not only is limited to lyric verse, but depends for its impression upon the force of monotone- both in sound and thought. The pleasure is deduced solely from the sense of identity- of repetition. ” In the poem “Annabel Lee”, Poe repeats the line “in the kingdom by the sea”. His use of repetition is evident throughout the poem.
In “Ligeia”, Poe describes the narrator’s wife as a beautiful and intelligent raven-haired woman. Using the word “raven” in this portrayal foreshadows her imminent and tragic death. He states “With the denouement proper- with the Raven’s reply, “Nevermore,” to the lover’s final demand if he shall meet his mistress in another world- the poem, in its obvious phase, that of a simple narrative, may be said to have its completion. ” Ligeia comes back from the dead through Rowena.
According to Poe, “ the death then of a beautiful woman is unquestionably the most poetical topic in the world, and equally is it beyond doubt that the lips best suited for such topic are those of a bereaved lover. ” This is the main theme in “Ligeia” and “Annabel Lee”. Ligeia, Rowena, and Annabel Lee are all beautiful and exquisite women who meet untimely deaths. Ligeia has dark, gorgeous curly hair and intense black eyes. She becomes mysteriously ill and death soon follows. Her husband moves to England and soon remarries.
His new bride is the stunning fair, blue-eyed Lady Rowena Trevanion of Tremaine. She also dies. Annabel Lee is also beautiful, but her death is different from the way Ligeia and Rowena perished. She died because the angels were jealous of her.
The lovers of Ligeia and Annabel Lee have a strong and passionate obsession with them. They attempt to stay dedicated to their lovers even in death. Ligeia’s husband is grief stricken and high on opium. He hallucinates and sees her come back to life through Rowena.Annabel Lee’s lover still sees her in his dreams and in the stars.
He still loves her so much that he goes and lies down with her in her tomb every night. Both stories allow the reader to appreciate Poe’s dark but brilliant mind as well as his obsession with beauty and death. Poe finds death to be seductive and intense. And he relates these emotions to love and devotion.