Analysis of ’The Bells’ by Edgar Allan Poe
Human beings are bound to be affected by sound due to the sense of hearing. A listener can be emotionally stimulated by specific sounds, thereby being reminded of particular events associated with those sounds. The poem, ’The Bells’, deals with the concept of sound, its various effects and life and death. In order to illustrate this point, this essay will analyze the poem and examine the poetic devices used in it. Edgar Allan Poe’s poem is structured into four stanzas, each one longer than the one before. There are a lot of change in the meter, although the dominant one is the trochaic meter, as seen in line 15: [Hear the] [mel- -low] [wed- ding] [bells], where Poe creates a catalectic line. The poem has a turbulent and irregular rhyme scheme throughout the poem. Without even going into the content of the poem, it is obvious that Poe is creating an unstable environment for the reader. This is clear due to the rhyme scheme and the inconsistent lengths and the out-spacing of the lines. Each of the four stanzas describe a different kind of bell; silver, golden, brazen and iron. The first stanza, which portrays the ’silver bells’, is about the cheerful bells, promises of fun and possibly the time of Christmas. Here, in the beginning of the poem, the reader is given joyful sounds along with the onomatopoeic words like ’tinkle’, ’twinkle’ and ’tintinnabulation’. A lot of refrain appears in the poem; for example the repetition of the word ’time’ (l. 9) that gives the reader a sense of a ticking clock, as if to describe the anticipation and await of Christmas. This stanza is all about the cheerfulness of childhood and the happy and innocent moments it is composed of. Poe moves on to the next stanza with the golden bell, where wedding bells appear, foreseeing harmony and happiness. The smoothness of the bells and their notes are in focus in this stanza as described with the word molten-golden. According...
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