The Haunted Palace
by Edgar Allan Poe
Who is the mysterious speaker of this poem? We don't get any really solid details about him (is it even a him?). We don't learn anything about what he looks like, how old he is, what his name might be, or (most importantly) how he knows this amazing story of the haunted palace. At the same time, as we read his words we start to get little hints about what kind of guy he is. For one thing, he sure knows a lot. Even though the happy days of the castle happened a long time ago, he's got the whole scoop on what it used to be like. Plus he's up to date on the latest developments at the palace, too. Beyond that, we can tell he knows his history and loves big words. (Who else would think of calling a king "Porphyrogene"?)
We can tell that the speaker of this poem really feels the pain of the fall of the palace—why else would he say, "let us mourn!" (35)? Also, if you go back and pay close attention to all the exclamation points he uses to relate this tale, you start to get the sense that this dude is really invested in the fall of the palace-head. It really makes us wonder just what, exactly, is his connection to the palace, or the king, of (if you strip away the metaphor) the head. It's never made clear, but one thing's for sure: his passion, which comes through in his language and all those exclamations—is infectious. He seems to be genuine in his lament of all the bad stuff that gets revealed at the end of the poem. Dude has passion for his subject, which leads us to believe that, beneath all the ghoulish details, we think there's some real kindness in the speaker of "The Haunted Palace."