The Sleeper by Edgar Allan Poe

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The Sleeper, by Edgar Allan Poe, was first published in the Poems of 1831; this poem has since been revised from its current version which was printed in 1845. This poem was written during the Romanticism Period. This time period is defined as a time in which poets began to “rebel against the Neoclassical restrictions and dominance of reason as poetic aim. Romantic poetry celebrated the imagination over rationality, passion, and dreams over reason and external reality, and isolated individuality over collective humankind. Romantic poetry looked to celebrate both the supernatural and elevate the commonplace.” (Henriksen) Poe’s imagination prevails in this lyric poem. The speaker of the poem experiences an internal conflict while mourning…show more content…
He is concerned for Irene, asking her if she is afraid of being in this place. He wonders why she is dreaming in this place, and of what. The speaker says that she must be from a far away land, because even the trees are left to wonder about her. He comments on the peculiarity of how white her skin is, how strangely she is dressed, as well as the length of her hair is off setting to him. He is addressing her as if she will respond to him, which is another use of apostrophe. He is seemingly disoriented by her lack of courteousness; she will not answer his questions. The introduction to Irene being placed in the second stanza is important because it allows for a mood to be created, for the poem to establish an emotional investment for the speaker; we must first get a vivid image of the external surroundings. Poe constructs a mystical setting for his poem which conveys the music in the speaker’s soul. He does this by using alliteration in the first stanza, “And, Softly, dripping, drop by drop. The sensuality of these descriptions conveys how he feels about Irene. Once we are introduced to the slumbering beauty we can see he is concerned for her soul. His probing questions with an expectation of an answer haunt us into the realization that his love transcends through the confines of death. Poe uses iambic tetrameter in this poem, which allows the flow of the poem to captivate the reader into this fantastic setting. The rhyme scheme of
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