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Die Heuning Pot Literature Guide
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Analysis


Symbols, Imagery, Wordplay

Form and Meter

A lot of "To Helen" is written in a meter called iambic tetrameter. This means that many of the lines contain four (tetra-) iambs. An iamb is a type of beat that contains an unstressed syllable fol...

Speaker

What do we know about the speaker of this little gem of a poem? Well, actually quite a bit. First and foremost, he's, like totally in love with the woman he calls Helen. The remarks about her beaut...

Setting

Lots of places get mentioned, alluded to, conjured up, and hinted at in this short poem. Sometimes, it's more of a question of what isn't in here rather than what is. Some of the places mentioned a...

Sound Check

"To Helen" is a love poem. It's got all the classic sounds of one, from the enumeration of attributes ("thy beauty," "thy […] hair," "thy […] face," "thy […] airs") to grandiose assertions ab...

What's Up With the Title?

"To Helen" is more than a title, gang. It's a dedication! Everything in the poem (title included) is framed as a shout-out to a woman named Helen. But most critics and scholars are agreed that Poe...

Calling Card

There was something about the name Helen that Poe really liked. He not only wrote the "To Helen" that we've been talking about, but also another poem in 1848 with the exact same title that you can...

Tough-o-Meter

"To Helen" isn't the easiest poem in the world, but it's not liable to make your brain explode with difficulty. The sentences aren't super-long and tricky or anything like that, but they do contain...

Trivia

After her death, Poe would visit Jane Stanard in the cemetery at night. As a woman who knew him explained: "It was his habit to visit nightly the cemetery where the object of his boyish idolatry la...

Steaminess Rating

Well, we've got a nice love poem here that alludes to a whole lot of mythological love stories, but where's the sex? Sadly, there isn't any. None, zero, zilch, nein, nada. Still, we get what movie...

Allusions

Roman poet Catullus (2-5)Homer, Odyssey (2-5)Helen (1, 7-8)Naiads (8)Psyche (14-15)Jane Stanard, mother of Poe's childhood friend (throughout) Ancient Greece (9)Ancient Rome (10)
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