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Themes

For the first half of "Eldorado," the knight is totally alone. It is only in line 15 that he meets somebody else, and only a "pilgrim shadow" at that. The shadow doesn't seem very real, and it is possible that he's just talking to himself anyway. For all intents and purposes, the knight is alone throughout the poem, and it is implied that he will die alone. His obsession with finding Eldorado leaves him isolated, with only his dreams of Eldorado to keep him company. Super-sad, gang.

Questions About Isolation

  1. Does the "pilgrim shadow" relieve the knight's isolation at all?
  2. Might the knight's dream of Eldorado be enough to keep him company? Why or why not?
  3. Is the knight aware of his isolation?
  4. When do you feel isolated? Does the knight's example help you deal with that feeling? Why or why not?

Chew on This

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

Isolation is a form of death. The knight is alone and "alive," but all the shadows in the poem suggest that death follows him everywhere. He's in major need of a buddy.

Careful, Shmoopers! If we get too obsessed with one thing, we end up isolating ourselves and—possibly—dying alone, just like the knight.

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