Wednesday, February 26, 2014


Gaily bedight,

A gallant knight,

In sunshine and in shadow,

Had journeyed long,

Singing a song,

In search of Eldorado.

But he grew old-

This knight so bold-

And o'er his heart a shadow

Fell as he found

No spot of ground

That looked like Eldorado.

And, as his strength

Failed him at length,

He met a pilgrim shadow-

"Shadow," said he,

"Where can it be-

This land of Eldorado?"

"Over the Mountains

Of the Moon,

Down the Valley of the Shadow,

Ride, boldly ride,"

The shade replied-

"If you seek for Eldorado!"

Edgar Allan Poe

Structurally, "Eldorado" consists of four stanzas, each of which consists of six lines. The first stanza describes a "gallant knight" who is "gaily bedight" and in the high point of optimistic youth, as he believes unswervingly that Eldorado exists and that he will eventually locate the city. The second stanza is less bright in tone, as the knight moves on to old age and begins to suspect that he will never achieve his life's goal. The next stanza then brings him to his deathbed, as he asks the "pilgrim shadow" for advice in much the same manner as the narrator of "The Raven" asks the raven for advice about his lost Lenore and about life after death. Finally, the last stanza moves from life into death, completing the human life cycle as the shadow advises that the knight continue his quest into death.If the search for Eldorado is an allegory for the progression of a lifetime, then the fact that the search only ends in death may have multiple meanings. Some critics have described the knight's quest as indicative of faith that fulfillment exists after death, a sentiment echoed by Guy de Vere of Poe's poem "Lenore." In addition, Poe's works have often associated death with ideals of purity and beauty made permanent, again as in "Lenore" or in his short story "Ligeia." Poe may also be characterizing life as a constant search, to which the object of search only appears in death, an interpretation that recalls the narrator of the short story "MS. Found in a Bottle," who learns not to fear death in hopes of achieving knowledge.

No comments:

Post a Comment