Figurative Language in Annabel Lee

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  • 0:03 Figurative Language in…
  • 1:06 Symbolism
  • 1:40 Hyperbole
  • 1:59 Personification
  • 2:48 Alliteration
  • 3:18 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Rachel Noorda
In this lesson, you'll learn about figurative language in the poem 'Annabel Lee' by Edgar Allan Poe. We'll discuss examples of figurative language used in the poem, including symbolism, hyperbole, personification, and alliteration.

Figurative Language in 'Annabel Lee'

'Annabel Lee' is a poem by American Gothic writer Edgar Allan Poe. The poem was written in 1849 and was probably written about his wife, Virginia Poe, who died two years earlier. The poem tells a story of a young man (the narrator) who is in love with Annabel Lee. They live together in a kingdom by the sea, and they are very happy and in love. Their love is so wonderful that the angels are jealous of them, and they send a cold chill that kills Annabel Lee. The narrator is devastated by the loss of his love.

Figurative language uses literary devices to go beyond the actual meaning of the words and phrases. It is often used in literature and is the opposite of literal language, which tells things exactly as they are. Figurative language is used in literature because it can give new and hidden meaning to a story. While there are many different types of figurative language, in this lesson we'll look closely at uses and examples of symbolism, hyperbole, personification, and alliteration from 'Annabel Lee.'


Symbolism is using symbols to represent ideas. The main character of the poem, Annabel Lee, is a symbol for Edgar Allan Poe's dead wife, Virginia Poe. The sea is a powerful, unpredictable element of nature. It is from a sea wind that Annabel Lee gets the chill that kills her. The sea is a looming, ominous presence in the poem and symbolizes loneliness, coldness, and emptiness. In the end, Annabel Lee dies and is put in a sepulchre, or tomb. The sepulchre symbolizes death.


Hyperbole is exaggeration. 'I was a child and she was a child.' This is a line from the poem 'Annabel Lee' in which the narrator talks about Annabel Lee and himself as children. This is hyperbole, or exaggeration, to indicate that Annabel Lee and the narrator were young and in love.

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