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Ulalume

Ulalume

by Edgar Allan Poe

The Supernatural Theme

"Ulalume" is full of spooky stuff. It's crawling with ghouls and goddesses. The speaker's soul is also outside of the speaker's body. Some of this might be metaphorical, and we'll talk about that in "Quotes," but at first glance it all looks pretty supernatural to us.

Questions About The Supernatural

  1. What do you think all of the supernatural characters do for this poem?  Are they just there to make things exciting, or is Poe trying to say something about the spiritual world?
  2. Do you think of this as a religious poem?  Maybe just spiritual?  None of the above?  How would you decide?
  3. Why do you think the poem spends so much time on Astarte?  Why is she important?  Do you get a clear idea of what she looks like?
  4. Is it possible that the speaker is just hallucinating all these magical things?  Are there clues that might help us answer that question?

Chew on This

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

Instead of presenting a coherent spiritual philosophy, the poem gives us a jumble of magical characters and events. This is consistent with the disorienting feeling conveyed elsewhere in the poem.

"Ulalume" is much more about the speaker's feelings than it is about the outside world. All of his encounters with the supernatural could easily be produced by his imagination, so they reflect his mental state more than any external reality.

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