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The Angels/Seraphs

Symbol Analysis

Interestingly enough, these are the bad guys in this poem. They take the blame for killing Annabel. It's not a standard view of angels, but our speaker has a dark outlook on everything, so we're not too surprised. Like with the sepulchre, we can see Poe playing around with a fancy "s" word here too, just to spice things up, and then falling back on a much more common synonym. He could have just said angels right away, but he's Edgar Allan Poe, and for him, atmosphere is everything.

  • Line 11: There's that fancy phrase: "winged seraphs." That choice of words helps to lend a lofty, mythological flavor to the poem, just like the kingdom and the maiden. Right from the start, these seraphs are cruel and jealous. They covet the young lovers. Angels are supposed to represent beauty and light and joy. Here they are dark and unjust and evil. It's a whacky, upside-down world in this poem.
  • Line 21: More mean angels here, jealous of Annabel and her boyfriend. Poe circles back to the same few themes a number of times, which may be a way of giving us insight into the unstable mind of the speaker. It also allows him to set up that hypnotic rhythm, like he does with the alliteration of "half so happy in heaven."
  • Line 30: Now he hits back at the angels a little. They thought they would win by killing Annabel, but his bond with her is too strong. Notice the way they are paired with the demons under the sea in the next line. This might look like an allusion to a particular religious view of the world. However, since both the angels and the demons are ganging up against Annabel and the speaker, they aren't really representatives of good and evil at all.

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