Die Heuning Pot Literature Guide
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Themes

Almost every line in "Eldorado" is about death, whether it's the knight's approaching death (his strength fails, he must go down the "valley of the shadow") or the death of his dream of ever finding Eldorado. One also feels, while reading the poem, that the knight's whole life has been a living-death. He's so obsessed with Eldorado that he hasn't really lived. Even towards the end of his life—with Death sitting on his doorstep, ringing the bell—all he can think about is Eldorado.

Questions About Death

  1. Do you think the knight will die a happy man? Why or why not?\
  2. In what ways might this poem reflect Poe's own fears about death? 
  3. What do you think the shadow the knight meets is? Maybe Death himself? Why do you think so?\
  4. What is the one thing you want to achieve before you die?
  5. Do you fear death? Why or why not?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

Beware! If we become too consumed with a particular goal, we will end up like the knight, whose life has become a living death.

Death?! Puh-leeze. The knight's dream of finding Eldorado makes him not fear death; or rather, his dream of finding Eldorado makes death seem less scary or less important.

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