Unreliable Narrators in Poe’s Annabel Lee and The Tell Tale Heart Something happens when we as readers start to sense that there is a case of an unreliable narrator – we stop reading the story and start reading the narrator or writer. This can make the story more complicated, confusing, and ultimately thrilling, specifically in the case of the famous poet Edgar Allan Poe. In Poe’s Annabel Lee and Tell Tale Heart, he gives us reason to doubt the sanity and truthfulness of his narrators. The deeper we look into his two poems, the more complex and even psychotic our narrators reveal to be. In Annabel Lee, we find our narrator grieving over the death of his late lover. Annabel Lee, according to our narrator, is his one true love and match made in heaven. Their love was so perfect and pure that even the angels in heaven were jealous. The angels were so envious that they decided to kill her, and this was the reason she died(according to the narrator.) Every line in this poem needs to be broken down to fully understand the holes in the story our narrator is telling. In the first stanza, poe writes “It was many and many a year ago, In a kingdom by the sea,
That a maiden there lived whom you may know
By the name of Annabel Lee;
And this maiden she lived with no other thought
Than to love and be loved by me.”
Right off the bat, the validity of the story is being questioned because of the fantasy element of this “kingdom by the sea.” If Poe had said “in a small town in New Jersey,” maybe we would have a realistic picture in our minds of this Annabel Lee. Also, the fact that the narrator states we may actually know this girl is far-fetched. Equally far-fetched is the idea that this girl lived with no other thought than to have an obsessive relationship with our narrator. In the next stanza, the overwhelming idea of the narrator that “the winged seraphs of Heaven coveted her” and he for their “love that was more than love” is introduced. Most...
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