Israfel by Edgar Allan Poe

Topics: Edgar Allan Poe, Poetry, Horror fiction Pages: 4 (1731 words) Published: April 30, 2001

"Israfel" is a mesmerizing poem, the beginning of which was first set down by Poe during his days at West Point College. (Allen 233) The poem itself is a direct contrast to Poe's usual poetry, which usually deal with death and dark thoughts or other melancholy, Gothic ideas. Poe's idea of the death of beautiful woman being the most poetical of all topics is here, nowhere to be found. This proves that Poe, when so inclined, could indeed write about something other than opium induced nightmares and paranoid grieving men who are frightened to death by sarcastic, talkative, ravens. Besides "Israfel", Poe's other poetry, "To Helen", as well as "Annabel Lee" and others, are virtually unrecognizable to the everyday reader as being works by Edgar Allan Poe. His name is usually associated with his tales of horror and the macabre. His one poem, "The Raven", a work which deals with a mans steady decline into madness, is probably his most recognizable piece of poetry. A situation, which I feel is unfortunate, considering that the aforementioned are in most cases the equal to "The Raven." Scholars have bestowed upon Edgar Allan Poe, the mantle of "horror writer" a crown which does him a great injustice considering the great variety of works that he wrote and the passion which drove him during his writing. It is this passion that is evident in "Israfel." The Poem itself draws heavily on Arabian and Oriental literature, subjects which fascinated Poe.(Allen 249) Supernatural elements, which are strong in all of Poe's works and a basic concept of all the Romantics, are represented here, as well as heaven itself. The poem is mystical in nature and a praise of inspiration, which is represented by the angel Israfel, who dwells in heaven and sings so beautifully that the stars themselves have to stop and listen. Poe's note on the text itself is taken from The Koran and reads as this: " And the angel Israfel, whose heartstrings are a lute, and who has the sweetest voice of...

Cited: Allen, Harvey. Israfel: The Life and Times of Edgar Allan Poe. Farrar & Rinehart Inc. NewYork. 1934. Poe, Edgar A. "Israfel." The Norton Anthology of American Literature. W.W. Norton
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