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The Sleeper Analysis



Author: Poetry of Edgar Allan Poe Type: Poetry Views: 3249





At midnight, in the month of June,

I stand beneath the mystic moon.

An opiate vapor, dewy, dim,

Exhales from out her golden rim,

And, softly dripping, drop by drop,

Upon the quiet mountain top,

Steals drowsily and musically

Into the universal valley.

The rosemary nods upon the grave;

The lily lolls upon the wave;

Wrapping the fog about its breast,

The ruin molders into rest;

Looking like Lethe, see! the lake

A conscious slumber seems to take,

And would not, for the world, awake.

All Beauty sleeps!- and lo! where lies

Irene, with her Destinies!



O, lady bright! can it be right-

This window open to the night?

The wanton airs, from the tree-top,

Laughingly through the lattice drop-

The bodiless airs, a wizard rout,

Flit through thy chamber in and out,

And wave the curtain canopy

So fitfully- so fearfully-

Above the closed and fringed lid

'Neath which thy slumb'ring soul lies hid,

That, o'er the floor and down the wall,

Like ghosts the shadows rise and fall!

Oh, lady dear, hast thou no fear?

Why and what art thou dreaming here?

Sure thou art come O'er far-off seas,

A wonder to these garden trees!

Strange is thy pallor! strange thy dress,

Strange, above all, thy length of tress,

And this all solemn silentness!



The lady sleeps! Oh, may her sleep,

Which is enduring, so be deep!

Heaven have her in its sacred keep!

This chamber changed for one more holy,

This bed for one more melancholy,

I pray to God that she may lie

For ever with unopened eye,

While the pale sheeted ghosts go by!



My love, she sleeps! Oh, may her sleep

As it is lasting, so be deep!

Soft may the worms about her creep!

Far in the forest, dim and old,

For her may some tall vault unfold-

Some vault that oft has flung its black

And winged panels fluttering back,

Triumphant, o'er the crested palls,

Of her grand family funerals-

Some sepulchre, remote, alone,

Against whose portal she hath thrown,

In childhood, many an idle stone-

Some tomb from out whose sounding door

She ne'er shall force an echo more,

Thrilling to think, poor child of sin!

It was the dead who groaned within.








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||| Analysis | Critique | Overview Below |||

.: :.

The poem is about reviving Baluga whales in Lake Superior, man. Legalize LSD!!!

| Posted on 2012-05-31 | by a guest


.: :.

The poem is clearly about the narrator being drunk pretending his dead love is alive and asking her questions but then he becomes more concious and faces with the fact that she is dead and wishes that she is in a better place even though it is doubtful. He also is dead at the end.

| Posted on 2012-04-13 | by a guest


.: :.

is the sleeper a free verse poem? please i need help

| Posted on 2012-02-22 | by a guest


.: :.

As I read this poem, I could picture in my mind what I thought it might be about. It\'s only a small idea, but I believe that it corresponds quite well with the poetry.
A man, who is asleep and dreaming, suddenly happens upon the face of a woman he used to know and love. He imagines that she is sleeping happily, but is puzzled by her ghostly appearance...
Deep down, he knows that she is dead, but a part of him still thinks of her as his beloved, and wishes to protect her from the dangers of the night.

| Posted on 2012-02-12 | by a guest


.: :.

come on guys come on. This is simple stuff. everything is literal man
come on
its easy
dude
read the stuff
then visualize like its money
unless youre rich them visualize a big gourmet steak
unless youre a chef then visualize a dolphin swimming
unless youre a marine biologist, but then youre not a chef, are you?
anyway, visialize then take it totally literally. once you can see the total literal story the rest is up to you to interpret

| Posted on 2012-02-12 | by a guest


.: :.

everyone might read it diffrently so u cant really explain it .-. just read and whatever it means to u thann thats it we will never know unless poe rises from the grave and tells us?
.

| Posted on 2012-02-09 | by a guest


.: :.

As Poe once said: \"The death, then, of a beautiful woman is, unquestionably, the most poetical topic in the world.\" Asking with this major theme in his literature there is also the issue of the dream world versus the material reality. Poe combines these two in guys poem \"The Sleeper.\" Not only can he not accept the death of this beautiful woman, but he is also envious of her entrance into the dream state. He wishes for her to be because it is more ideal than reality. The narrator is entering into madness because of his inability to join her in the dream state. whether that be by sleep or by death.

| Posted on 2011-12-30 | by a guest


.: :.

ok im a 14 year old in high school. i just want to know what this poem is about so i can get an A on my project.!! is that hard to ask.?

| Posted on 2011-12-07 | by a guest


.: :.

umm yall fools are trippin just read it and understand it line by line yall fools are crazy too much thinking dont think

| Posted on 2011-11-02 | by a guest


.: :.

I believe that he is talking about a women he loves and watching her fall into an opiate addiction, knowing that she is skirting death/ already dead in a way and trying to understand her choices.

| Posted on 2011-10-09 | by a guest


.: :.

First of all one of the comments is very incorrect Poe\'s mother did not die of alcoholism she died of T.B
I beleive this poem is most accurately interpretated by the first comment. Although i do think it is his eventual comming to terms of his loved ones death. He lost many people close to him during his troubled life and I beleive that it is reflected very well in this poem.

| Posted on 2010-11-17 | by a guest


.: :.

Basically, the speaker of this poem seems unable to forget about his dead
lover who nows lies within her grave. We see that he wants to forget about
his lover (via the line: Looking about the Lethe, see!) We also see symbols
for rememberance in the form of rosemary. The speaker of the poem is
conflicted. He doesn't want to accept that his lover is dead (strange is
thy pallor! strange thy dress! strange, above all, thy length of tress, and
this all solemn silentness!)
The most interesting image though comes with the lines: I pray to God that
she may lie/Forever with unopened eye,/while the pale sheeted ghosts go
by.
By adding these extra "ghosts", Poe is making a statement on the
relationship between love and death. The lover inside the casket can't join
the ghosts because his love refuses to move on and quit his mourning (or
perhaps even accept that she is truly dead) and thus has captured her in
this state of dreaming.
Poe spends an awful amount of time describing the dead lover in a state of
dreaming. It should be noted that dreams are typically contrasted with
reality (and Poe has done this in other poems, see: "Dreams" and "A Dream
Within a Dream".) The earlier comments about how he expected his lover to
appear also show that the speaker is trying to deny reality. By picturing
her dreaming, the speaker further tries to mitigate the concept of death
(by comparing it to an eternal sleep where one dreams of wonders). In
reality, the speaker is the one dreaming and unable to accept reality. He
romanticizes death, almost turning it into a game and something wonderful,
which seems morbid but is really trying to deal with the loss of a loved
one.
But that still begs the question: Why is this poem important outside of the
poem itself?
Although most of us don't go around talking about how wonderful worms
crawling over our skin must feel (Oh may her sleep,/ as it is lasting, so
be deep!/Soft may the worms about her creep!) humanity does, indeed,
romantacize death. The religious among us believe in an eternal heaven
after death, "He/she's gone onto a better place", "Forty virgins are
waiting up there for you!", etc. What at first seems like Poe romantacizing
death in a creepy way, typical of his style, ends up creating a poem that
turns out to have a deeper meaning in the context of human society. By
depicting this almost insane romantic death filled with morbid details
(that isn't really death, but a kind of dreaming) he is ironically
attacking the idea of romantacizing death as would be done in mainstream
society through religion.

| Posted on 2009-10-27 | by a guest


.: :.

This poem could be about Poe's mother. I have read excerpts from biographical works on Poe that say he never quite got over the death of his mother as is evident throughout his works. It could be that in order to protect his ego he used denial as a way of coping with the trauma of his mother's death. Hence, perhaps providing insight into Poe's mind, the protagonist believes it's worthwhile to ask "the sleeper" a question because maybe she'll answer. Maybe she isn't really dead.

| Posted on 2009-08-05 | by a guest


.: :.

Edgar Allen Poe loses his mind amongst the loneliness, madness, and sadness of his life. He gets lost in his own imagination and has difficultly distinguishing his mind from reality. Poe comes up with situations and reality’s in his head, and desires them so much that he comes to believe they are real and is in some cases in denial of actuality. In the poem The Sleeper, Edgar discusses watching a woman ‘sleep’. It starts that we can visualize him watching a woman’s slumber, the window open and cold air breezing. He is wondering what it is she is dreaming about. Then we start to believe that the ‘sleeping’ woman is actually dead when Poe writes “For ever with unopened eyes…soft may the worms about her creep.” It is then evident that he is in fact observing a corpse at rest. But instead of observing a corpse and feeling the peace and distance, Poe starts to let his mind run and gets caught up in his games. He asks her questions almost as if expecting a reply. “O, lady bright! Can it be right- this window open to the night?” he asks her, “o lady dear, hast thou no fear?” Poe obviously knows she is dead, but his contorted mind has convinced him that there is a point in asking her, as if she may awake and answer. He imagines her answering him and he imagines what she could be dreaming about. Poe is stuck in his own mind and cannot distinguish his thoughts and desires from reality. He has reached a point of loneliness that he has come to talk to corpses. A person stranded on an island can only exist so long before they go insane from simple human isolation. We need human contact, and Poe has no friends. Once his mother died of alcoholism and his wife died, Poe was literally left alone, by himself. Moments like this were common for Poe; some even say that he sat next to his mother’s corpse for two days prior to being found. Poe has seeped so far into loneliness that it is driving him insane.

| Posted on 2009-04-29 | by a guest


.: :.

we think this poem is how the narrator cannot accept the death of Irene so uses the metaphor of "sleep". Edgar Allan Poe has some serious issues because he is always writing about the death of a beautiful woman and depressing everyone who reads the poem
s&&v

| Posted on 2008-12-19 | by a guest


.: :.

Edgar Allan Poe is not as brilliant as he is made out to be. He cannot accept the death of Irene and refuses to move on. He needs to grow some balls.

| Posted on 2008-12-01 | by a guest


.: :.

I have too wondered if he is entering a dream. It is clear that she is dead and he understand that, but as well wishes it to be as peaceful as posible. When he comments on her appearance i believe it shows the fact that it really has been so long since she died and that its different to see her in such a way, such a setting.
Does any one else think this poem was about Jane Stith Stanard??

| Posted on 2008-11-20 | by a guest


.: :.

I feel as if this man knows that Irene is dead but as he travels through the cemetery he is just coming to terms with her death. The fact that he sees her face whiter and her hair longer, to me suggests that it has taken him maybe several years to journey to the cemetery to accept her death. You can tell he struggles with whether or not to let her go because he speaks of Lethe or the river of forgetfulness, but he also speaks of rosemary the spice of remembrance. He talks about the water being peaceful and the cemetery but then suggest that the wind upsets this peace...at this point he starts to question himself or possibly he is questioning her. This suggests that he is unsure of whether to let her sleep peacefully or not, in the end he wants nothing more than her to be granted this peace he believes she deserves. At the end he makes reference to the fact that she has before knocked on deaths door as a young child and heard the echo of their groans, but now that she lay with them she can no longer cast that knock but instead only groan.

| Posted on 2008-11-19 | by a guest


.: :.

I'm also working on an English Assignment involving this poem, so I would appreciate it if anyone with an opinion or different interpretation of the piece could respond. In response to his unwillingness to accept that she is dead, I disagree. In the first verse, Poe makes it clear that the man in the poem is in a cemetery, hence the line about the 'moldering ruins'. Though Poe doesn't mention anything directly about her death until the end, I think that the reason for this is to say that her beauty has remained unharmed even though she has passed. To make her the reality of her death 'softer' so to speak. If he believed her to be simply asleep, he wouldn't have remarked on her pale skin. I do, however, agree that the poem is far too romantic to be about his mother =)
~Iffy

| Posted on 2008-09-04 | by a guest


.: :.

In my opinion, this poem is about a man on a quest to find the tomb of his departed lover. I think that he finds an open tomb and believes that the occupant of that tomb is his beloved Irene, but it's actually someone else. That's why he comments on her strange dress and strange length of tress (hair).
~Iffy

| Posted on 2008-09-04 | by a guest


.: :.

I believe that this poem is about Poe's target of a crazy love, in which he is so unwilling to accept that she is dead that he calls her asleep. It is indicative of an overwhelming obsession on Poe's part. Only in the last stanza, does he speak of anything that is related directly to death.
And I don't really see the link of it being his mother..hahah. it is too romantically written. but I DO agree that it could be a possible inter[retation, all you have to do is argue your case well. :)

| Posted on 2008-06-20 | by a guest


.: Mother? :.

does anyone else think that this poem could be about his mother?
Because Poe wrote it the year his brother died of alcoholism. And he doesnt want her to see what has become of her family.?
Please respond. English Assignment.

| Posted on 2008-05-29 | by a guest


.: A 14 year-old :.

sorry about those last three...my computer was messing up. Only the one on top is the right one...(no frogs) i read it wrong...

| Posted on 2008-04-07 | by a guest


.: A 14 year-old :.

It is true that this poem can mean many things. To me it means... on a dark, foggy night, a man goes to visit his loved one, dead at the semetary. He brings flowers to her grave... Irene is dead, but though dead, she lights up his way...He is scared and wonders what she dreams of...She came from a greater place far away and brought life to his world. Now she deserves her rest and is in a better place. He doesn't want her to open her eyes to the dangers outside in the world...Let nothing disturb her rest...She can do nothing more, but she longs to push through the closed tomb door...

| Posted on 2008-04-07 | by a guest


.: A 14 year-old :.

It is true that this poem can mean many things. To me it means... on a dark, foggy night, a man goes to visit his loved one, dead at the semetary. He brings flowers to her grave. Frogs croak in the distance... Irene is dead, but though dead, she lights up his way...He is scared and wonders what she dreams of...She came from a greater place far away and brought life to his world. Now she deserves her rest and is in a better place. He doesn't want her to open her eyes to the dangers outside in the world...Let nothing disturb her rest...She can do nothing more, but she longs to push through the closed tomb door...

| Posted on 2008-04-07 | by a guest


.: A 14 year-old :.

It is true that this poem can mean many things. To me it means... on a dark, foggy night, a man goes to visit his loved one, dead at the semetary. He brings flowers to her grave. Frogs croak in the distance... Irene is dead, but though dead, she lights up his way...He is scared and wonders what she dreams of...She came from a greater place far away and brought life to his world. Now she deserves her rest and is in a better place. He doesn't want her to open her eyes to the dangers outside in the world...Let nothing disturb her rest...She can do nothing more, but she longs to push through the closed tomb door...

| Posted on 2008-04-07 | by a guest


.: :.

At first the poem seems to be ambiguous about whether the narrator knows or not that woman is dead. Once Irene is introduced, the narrator begins to question her (it is also possible that these questions were only meant for himself and may have not expected Irene to answer them). From the start of the third stanza we can be quite sure that the speaker knows that the lady is dead:"Heaven have her in its sacred keep!", "Soft may the worms about her creep!","For her may some tall vault unfold-"




| Posted on 2007-02-22 | by a guest


.: A guess :.

As I read this poem, I could picture in my mind what I thought it might be about. It's only a small idea, but I believe that it corresponds quite well with the poetry.
A man, who is asleep and dreaming, suddenly happens upon the face of a woman he used to know and love. He imagines that she is sleeping happily, but is puzzled by her ghostly appearance...
Deep down, he knows that she is dead, but a part of him still thinks of her as his beloved, and wishes to protect her from the dangers of the night.

All in all, sad but sweet.
At least, that's how I see it.
~LF~

| Posted on 2005-11-23 | by Approved Guest




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