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Israfel Analysis

Author: Poetry of Edgar Allan Poe Type: Poetry Views: 1871

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In Heaven a spirit doth dwell

"Whose heart-strings are a lute";

None sing so wildly well

As the angel Israfel,

And the giddy stars (so legends tell),

Ceasing their hymns, attend the spell

Of his voice, all mute.

Tottering above

In her highest noon,

The enamored moon

Blushes with love,

While, to listen, the red levin

(With the rapid Pleiads, even,

Which were seven,)

Pauses in Heaven.

And they say (the starry choir

And the other listening things)

That Israfeli's fire

Is owing to that lyre

By which he sits and sings-

The trembling living wire

Of those unusual strings.

But the skies that angel trod,

Where deep thoughts are a duty-

Where Love's a grown-up God-

Where the Houri glances are

Imbued with all the beauty

Which we worship in a star.

Therefore thou art not wrong,

Israfeli, who despisest

An unimpassioned song;

To thee the laurels belong,

Best bard, because the wisest!

Merrily live, and long!

The ecstasies above

With thy burning measures suit-

Thy grief, thy joy, thy hate, thy love,

With the fervor of thy lute-

Well may the stars be mute!

Yes, Heaven is thine; but this

Is a world of sweets and sours;

Our flowers are merely- flowers,

And the shadow of thy perfect bliss

Is the sunshine of ours.

If I could dwell

Where Israfel

Hath dwelt, and he where I,

He might not sing so wildly well

A mortal melody,

While a bolder note than this might swell

From my lyre within the sky.


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

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Poe is saying he believes in god, who loves him like no other. For his namesake on judgement day. Poe mentions how he\'s come to understand that life is good and bad. But, I feel Poe is saying \" If I understand this why am I not up in heaven with all the celestial beings?(With the stars)\" Poe seems like at that point he was looking to \"God\" for answers cause Earth symbolises Israfreli\'s fire. So he expresses himself. (On your \"Judgement day\" you would want all to be mute.) Poe doesn\'t know why he\'s alive. He\'s not immortal, and dreams about death as a blessing to join God with \"Whose heart strings are a lute.\" achieving eternal bliss. Poe\'s wise and merrily live, and long. Not a good thing for Poe. ... Overall it\'s the reader interpretation that matters. this poem means something different to me then what I think Poe was trying to say. To each their own.

| Posted on 2012-09-29 | by a guest

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Israfel: An Analysis Israfel is a mesmerizing poem, the beginning of which was first set down by Poe during his days at West Point College.(Allen 233) The poem itself is a direct contrast to Poe's usual poetry, which usually deal with death and dark thoughts or other melancholy, Gothic ideas. Poe's idea of the death of beautiful woman being the most poetical of all topics is here, nowhere to be found. This proves that Poe, when so inclined, could indeed write about something other than opium induced nightmares and paranoid grieving men who are frightened to death by sarcastic,talkative, ravens. Besides Israfel, Poe's other poetry, To Helen, as well as Annabel Lee and others, are virtually unrecognizable to the everyday reader as being works by Edgar Allan Poe. His name is usually associated with his tales of horror and the macabre. His one poem, The Raven, a work which deals with a mans steady decline into madness, is probably his most recognizable piece of poetry. A situation, which I feel is unfortunate, considering that the aforementioned are in most cases the equal to The Raven. Scholars have bestowed upon Edgar Allan Poe, the mantle of horror writer a crown which does him a great injustice considering the great variety of works that he wrote and the passion which drove him during his writing. It is this passion that is evident in Israfel. The Poem itself draws heavily on Arabian and Oriental literature, subjects which fascinated Poe.(Allen 249) Supernatural elements, which are strong in all of Poe's works and a basic concept of all the Romantics, are represented here, as well as heaven itself. The poem is mystical in nature and a praise of inspiration, which is represented by the angel Israfel, who dwells in heaven and sings so beautifully that the stars themselves have to stop and listen. Poe's note on the text itself is taken from The Koran and reads as this: And the angel Israfel, whose heartstrings are a lute , and who has the sweetest voice of all God's creatures.—Koran. Coleridge's, Kubla Khan, in British literature , is similar to Israfel, in that they both offer a heavenly place of the ideal. Israfel seems to represent a muse, of some sort, to Poe. He sits in heaven strumming his lyre and the over abundance of his voice carries over to earth, where Poe sits awaiting the stirring of emotion. Poetry is the evidence of Israfel's existence. Who does Israfel represent? Is it Poe himself ? It is easy to think that, considering the arrogance of Poe. I'm sure he especially would have liked to think this, that he was Israfel the angel, baring his soul to the creatures of earth, human and all,exalting himself as the best poet of all the other angels, so great that they must set down their own attempts of singing and poetry and listen to his. Poe saying to Emerson, Thoreau, and the like, Listen to me! Look upon the truth of the human heart in my works, ye mighty and despair! Is Poe Israfel? In a way, yes I would say he is. I believe it is what lies within Poe's heart and therefore a part of him. His inspiration, if you like. An inspiration which urges him onward in his poetry as well as frustrates him, in that he is the only one to hear the angels music. How could they know, these heavy sleepers, these solemn memorizers of the banalities of textbooks—that in their midst, brooding over them in the long hours of the night, sat a spirit whose song was sweeter and clearer than that of all the archangels of God! How human and earthy, and how comforting to his own feelings it was, to imagine that even in heaven his voice would be heard above all others, and be found more acceptable. (Allen 233) The first seven lines concern the singing of Israfel who, as I have mentioned, sits in heaven and sings in such away that none of the other angels may surpass him. Whose heart strings are a lute, Poe writes of Israfel in the second line of the poem which he directly quotes from the Koran. He sings so beautifully that the stars themselves are giddy and cease their own hymns to attend the spell of his voice. Again, the stars, or the well-known poets of the time, must listen to his words which are supernatural or magical. In lines eight through fifteen, Poe speaks of the moon and the power Israfel has even over this heavenly body. Israfel captivates the moon which blushes with love at the angels song. The seven Pleiads, (the seven daughters of Atlas, in Greek mythology, who became a constellation of stars) also Pauses in Heaven and heeds the voice of Israfel. It is in lines sixteen through twenty-two that we first catch a glimpse of the physical side of Poe and his connections with the angel Israfel. He mentions Israfeli's fire, a fire that is owes it's payment to a lyre, or a musical instrument. He sits by this lyre, the trembling living wire of those unusual strings, or he sits by the poet and strums the living heart strings of man so that he may produce his art, be it poetry, prose, or painting. It could be that Poe is also suggesting that Israfel is also oweing to us in that we are an outlet for his song on this earth. We allow for his creativity to be expressed, not just in heaven or the spiritual plain, but in the physical world as well. That way all of God's creatures may experience the beauty of his song and not dwell on the troubles of everyday life. It is a oneness with Israfel that Poe is hoping to achieve, in the physical body or mind and also in the soul. Israfel represents our creativity and the place from which it comes, Heaven or God. Some people such as poets, writers, artists and such are more attuned to Israfel and interact with it on a daily basis. Others hardly ever catch glimpses of Israfel and do not have to deal with the frustrations that come from hearing his songs. Next, Poe speaks of the heavenly place that Israfel resides, where deep thoughts are a duty, or where the thinking of the free spirit is the most important and of the maturity of love, referring to it as a grown-up god. The Houri sit also in heaven, their beauty so strong that we can only catch glimpses of it in the stars. The Houri are another reference to Muslim mythology in that they are supposedly the virgins that await the followers of the Islamic faith in heaven. In the fifth stanza, Poe speaks directly to Israfel and echos his own thoughts as well. He says it is not wrong for Israfel to despise a song lacking of passion because he is the greatest of all the angels in the creation of a song. Poe too, hated an unimpassioned song, which he felt was lacking in the works of Emerson and the Transcendentalists. At the end of the stanza he remarks the wisest! Merrily live, and long! The best and most passionate poetry would survive and be remembered by men, or only those songs that came from Israfel and the heart of the poet which he sings to. The ecstasies, in lines thirty-five through thirty-nine, are all of the emotions captured by Israfel with his lute. These are the emotions that are difficult, at times, for the poet to capture on paper and are distributed throughout heaven easily by Israfels' singing. The angels own sadness and love sent forth in paradise with such force that it is no wonder that the stars, themselves are mute. How then can a mere mortal interpret the singing of Israfel? If the heavenly bodies themselves are silent at the spectacle, what hope does the poet have? This is the frustration of Poe, his inability to completely understand the passion of Israfel, or his own whirlwind of emotions. I can presume, safely enough, that he felt he understood them better than the Transcendentalists. ` Lines forty through fifty deal with Poe's bafflement over Israfel and his own inward struggle. He remarks of the perfectness of his muse's existence and the glorys of paradise before commenting on our on world, calling it a world of sweets and sours. We have the good and the bad and must deal with it in a physical nature and not in a song. Poe then refers to flowers as just

| Posted on 2009-06-26 | by a guest

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we are in dire need of more INFOS about "Israfel" by "Edgar Allan Poe"

| Posted on 2009-06-26 | by a guest

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he is not writting about ur name it's idrafel is one of the angels

| Posted on 2009-06-07 | by a guest

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I like the poem of edgar allan poe...
my name is ISRAFEL and I am so shock to see my name in one of his works...

| Posted on 2008-04-15 | by a guest

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Are you kidding? This poem is brilliantly made. It isn't one of my favorites either. But here is what I came up with:

In the poem called “Israfel” written by Edgar Allen Poe in 1831 while he was a cadet at West Point Academy, many a reader may find it a bewilderment due to it’s lack of deathly elements often found in Poe’s workings. However, like other pieces of his works, Poe is the main character mentioned: The angel Israfel. A symbol of the ideal poet who sings in heaven and captivates all with his sublime voice, which in turn causes the “stars to be mute.” Yet, Israfel is also used to examine the plight of the earth-bound poet, who also represents Poe. A Poe whose mortality places burdens on him and interferes with his ability to sing joyously. This is because he is full of grief. Grief for the women who died in his lifetime so beautiful and young. Because the earth-bound poet must reside in “a world of sweets and sorrows” and burdened with “thy grief, thy joy, thy hate, thy love” he most identifies with Poe. He mentions wishing to change places with Israfel because the women whom had died in his lifetime, he believes ascended to heaven or a higher plain. The place where Israfel dwells is a poet’s paradise. He could ascend to that plain and see the women he loved and cherished so dearly in his life.
Though the burdens of the earthly world make the earth-bound poet long to change places with Israfel, with Israfel chained to the earth he “would not sing so wildly well” but given freedom from “mortal melodies,” the poet would strike “a bolder note” upon his “lyre within the sky.”
This poem has a few similarities to “The Oval Portrait,” a story we had read in class. The reason this poem and the short story have similarities is because in the story of “The Oval Portrait” the man who had viewed the painting in the first place had seen the painting, mistook it for a living being and wished to dwell within the painting with the maiden portrayed. Because both Poe and his characters are living within “the shadow of thy perfect bliss” and constantly living in darkness and harshness, the light of heaven and perfection is out of reach for him and his doomed characters.

| Posted on 2005-11-16 | by Approved Guest

.: Israfel - critic :.

Be I so bold as to criticize the Master of Macabre and the Genius of Rhyming Verse? I cannot help but try, and since this one is not one of my favorites by Poe, I thought I would attempt it with an unbiased view.

The rhyme of course flows beautifully as in most of his poems. However, the little I know about the angel Israfel is that he will sound the trumpet on judgement day, and I saw no reference to that in his verse. I read the poem twice just to make sure I didn't miss it, but no, there is no reference to the sounding of the trumpet. Oh well, despite that omission, it is still a brilliantly composed poem.

| Posted on 2005-08-10 | by oixi

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