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Allan Poe Poetry

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The research paper critically evaluates the link between the statement, if I would rather be remembered for doing something horrible or be forgotten for something really good that I have done and the works of American writer Edgar Allan Poe especially the poem, “City in the Sea”. It is worth noting from the onset that this is a literacy criticism referring to evaluating, describing, analyzing as well as interpreting literary works, and this case Allen’s poem.

Allan was born in January 19 1809 in Boston, Massachusetts; he was a well known American poet, literary critic and editor considered part of American Romantic Movement. His tales of mystery and macabre, his invention of detective-fiction, contribution to science fiction are what made him what we see him today. He was orphaned at a very early age and was under the custody of John and Frances Allan of Virginia. He went to school university of Virginia for a semester and dropped due to lack of fees. He later enlisted in the army, his failure as a cadet was when he parted ways with the Allans.

His career in publishing began from a humble background, various collections that were anonymous, for instance a collection of poems in 1827; Tamerlane and Other Poems. He later changed to writing prose, worked in literary journals and periodicals. He visited a number of places due to the nature of his work. Edgar married his 13 year old cousin in 1835; ten years down the line he published the poem The Raven which was a success. In 1847, his wife Virginia Clemm died of tuberculosis (Bittner, 1962).

According to Bittner, 1962, Poe Allan continued with his efforts to publish more work. In October 7 1849 aged 40 years, he died. The cause of his death was not known but thought to be due to alcoholism, cholera, heart disease, rabies, suicide, and tuberculosis or brain congestion. He is remembered through his works including horror fiction, gothic romance, crime fiction, detective fiction, comedy and satire.

Works of Edgar Allan

It is worth noting that Edgar Poe in his life time came up with numerous works ranging from short stories, poems as well as tales. All these were horror fiction, gothic romance, crime fiction, detective fiction, comedy and or satire. They include Alone, Al Aaraaf, The Angel of the Odd-AN Extravaganza, Annabel Lee, The Assignation, The Balloon-Hoax, The Bells, The Black Cat, Bon-Bon, Bridal Ballad, The business Man, The Cask of Amontillado, The city In the Sea, The Coliseum, The Colloquy of Manos and Una, The Conqueror Worm among many more. The to be analyzed in this assignment is The City in the Sea (Poe, 2004). 

Allan’s poems

In the quest of doing good or bad, human being are thought to be influence by two theories. People are usually remembered in doing horrible things to fellow human beings, while those who did or are doing good things are usually quickly forgotten. One theory developed by Kant, categorical imperative, holds that the most rational and acceptable action one take in acting properly/correctly is to have in mind how their actions would affect those in their vicinity and proceed taking actions that won’t  intrude on others’  right to live on the manner they deem fit (Sullivan, 1989).          

Accordingly, there are two duties, perfect and imperfect one which are blame worthy and not respectively. The other theory brought up by Mills utilitarianism and the concept of the "greatest good for the greatest number” emphasizes that actions taken that brings more happiness than pain to human race are morally right (Mill, 1974). On the basis of these two theories, one can make decisions that will make them branded good or bad people.

The city in the sea

The poem “The city in the sea” by Edgar was first published back in 1845, but its earlier version “The Doomed City” was published in 1831. The poem is about a city in Atlantis isolated ruled by death, the element from gothic fiction has been used to clearly bring out the message. The author drew his inspiration from various works and more notably Kubla Khan written by Samuel Taylor.

The word ‘While from a proud tower in the town, Death looks gigantically down’ says it all for this poem. The city in question is ruled by death, the poem is a classic in which death has been brought forth in a non-conventional way. It painted as if god rules over this city which seems to be a peaceful one situated in the west; ‘Domes and spires and kingly halls, and fanes and Babylon like walls…’ (Poe, 1978).  The location of the city has been made strategically because where the sun set has been traditionally been linked with death. From my own understanding, persons bestowed with the responsibility of ruling others, sitting in thrones are proving to be harmful to their subjects by tormenting and killing them. A stir in the air is an indication that all this bad things are yet to be experienced, this is further supported by the line, the waves now have a redder glow, the hours are breathing faint and low’ (Poe, 2004).  

The waves being redder are an indication of fire. Time will then come in which all these evil leadership or person will come against each other, ‘And when, amid no earthly moans, Down, down the town shall settle hence, Hell rising from a thousand thrones, shall do it reverence’ (Poe, 2004).  The devil will thus rule the entire world, towards the end of the poem, the city, generally referring to the entire world will be a worse place even beyond hell, and death seems to be worse than the devil.

Where the good and the bad and the worst and the best, Have gone to their eternal rest (Poe, 1978), means that there are no longer ‘good’ individuals remaining in the world that can do something good to others. This poem is directly associated with the thesis statement, a number of people want to leave behind their memories, this in most cases is achieved by doing horrible things

Annabel Lee

In this poem, Poe talks of a girl named Annabel Lee whom they are deeply in love. The love Lee felt for Poe is not questionable, “And this maiden she lived with no other thought, than to love and be loved by me” (Poe, 2004). Through this poem it is clear also that when do good things to other person, we will not be forgotten but be remembered even if we are dead. This is supported by the lines, ‘And neither the angels in heaven above…can ever dissever my soul from the soul of the beautiful Annabel Lee’.

Doing good to other especially through loving once partner very much and even if they depart we are still relived for the simple reason that we will meet them again is much astonishing, it is amazing when indeed we still appreciate them and love them more after they die. This indeed directly links with the thesis of the research paper.   


This poem is nothing else but revolves around human journey through life in the quest to look for happiness and success-Eldorado ‘Singing a song In search of Eldorado’ (Poe, 1978).  Through such journeys, man meets with a number of blocks that try to hinder such desires. Most of the obstacles are brought forth by fellow human bringing pain to human heart. Similarly our strengths can fail us in our efforts to success. It is evident that those who are remembered most are those that made out life a living hell hear on earth. While those who do good, are merely remembered for their deeds.

Happiest Day, the Happiest Hour, The

In this poem Poe talks of pride and power, ‘But were that hope of pride and power’, he says that those who seek power promise to do good but this is not what prevails later as he notes, ‘Of power! said I? yes! such I ween; But they have vanish'd long, alas!’ (Poe, 2004).

In addition, those in power will strive to suppress those individual who seem to be favorable in bringing democracy and doing good to other fellow human as well as those person who know or advocates for fairness, “For on its wing was dark alloy, And, as it flutter'd- fell An essence- powerful to destroy A soul that knew it well” (Poe, 1978). For this reason, they will always be remembered for bad things oppressing the human race.


In the poem, I bet although Allan was referring to the demise of his parent at a very early age, it can also mean the better relationship between parent and their kids. Similarly loneliness coupled with the fact that one is not loved by fellow human being for reasons that the culprit is not aware of makes one to resort to find happiness elsewhere, in nature (Poe, 1978). 

Kid cannot have memories of their parents especially when the parents departed them at a very early stage in development of the kid, ‘Then- in my childhood, in the dawn, Of a most stormy life- was drawn, From every depth of good and ill’ (Poe, 1978). More so, if the parents did something horrible, for instance, Poe’s father deserted the family, this he could not remember because it was a bitter experience if he was to recall it. Through this poem, he produces an amazing piece of work from which mankind fits and benefit from. 

A Dream

In the poem Poe reveals tells us how has been numbed by pain several times in his life time till he feels to be walking but feeling sleepy, 'waking dream of life and light hath left me broken hearted' (Poe, 2004),probably, even us in our life we undergo painful moment in life that in most cases is caused by other fellow human, this cases always seem to be in our minds. Similarly, there are moments that we feel extremely good, and it is upon us to chooses just like Poe did to center our life on those good things that happened in our past as he recall, 'that holy dream, lovely beam, 'light trembled from afar’ (Poe, 1978).

Finally, from the poem, it is worth noting that whatever we do, be they good or bad, it will always be an inspiration to those who remain on earth after we depart.


From the review of Edgar Allan’s poems, there is clear indication of his artwork well incorporated. Most of his poetry is based on horror fiction, gothic romance, crime fiction, detective fiction, comedy and satire. Humans are always driven by two main theories to doing either good or evil. These include the one developed by Mills and Kant which seek doing good to the greatest number and always doing morally right things respectively.

People are thus torn between being remembered for doing something horrible or being forgotten for something really good. It merges that although this is the case there are instances in which those who do good this are forever remembered and cherished. Poe’s work such as Eldorado, Annabel Lee, The city in the sea.  Among other clearly depict the thesis statement. His work will always lay grounds for various aspects in the field of academics ranging from literature to ethics.

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