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Spirits Of The Dead Analysis



Author: Poetry of Edgar Allan Poe Type: Poetry Views: 4081





Thy soul shall find itself alone

'Mid dark thoughts of the grey tomb-stone;

Not one, of all the crowd, to pry

Into thine hour of secrecy.



Be silent in that solitude,

Which is not loneliness- for then

The spirits of the dead, who stood

In life before thee, are again

In death around thee, and their will

Shall overshadow thee; be still.



The night, though clear, shall frown,

And the stars shall not look down

From their high thrones in the Heaven

With light like hope to mortals given,

But their red orbs, without beam,

To thy weariness shall seem

As a burning and a fever

Which would cling to thee for ever.



Now are thoughts thou shalt not banish,

Now are visions ne'er to vanish;

From thy spirit shall they pass

No more, like dew-drop from the grass.



The breeze, the breath of God, is still,

And the mist upon the hill

Shadowy, shadowy, yet unbroken,

Is a symbol and a token.

How it hangs upon the trees,

A mystery of mysteries!








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

.: :.

I think that this poem has nothing to do with the death of his wife since he published this in 1827 and his wife died in 1847. Instead, this is a poem that has to do with Poe's isolation and trying to grapple on the mystery that follows life.The afterlife has always been just a concept/something that people could look for after their death. Since death is always painful, Poe writes through his emotions using imagery and metaphors to make this visible to the reader. Throughout the poem, his emotions develop, which is clear through the imagery presented in each stanza for each scene. In the first stanza, the imagery creates a dark scene with grey tombstones, shadows, and loneliness resembling a sad emotion. In the next two stanzas, the details change to burning, fever, and red orb resembling sort of an angry approach to death. the ending stanzas have details such as mist, breath, and breeze suggesting poe is giving up.

| Posted on 2014-12-14 | by a guest


.: :.

Thank you, Christa. That helps a lot. You are a perfect faimly for OH! I'm going to tackle your question in a blog post, since I believe many folks would benefit from the answer, so look for that in the next couple of hours! Then our other OH moms can chime in on what they do and it will all be in one place!

| Posted on 2013-11-15 | by a guest


.: :.

Beautiful--and at this very moment I'm sneeig that top pic sunset right NOW. You will see in in what 13 hours :SO I WON'T RUIN IT FOR YA BY TELLING YOU HOW IT ENDS!!!! LOL.Hugs,J x x

| Posted on 2013-11-14 | by a guest


.: :.

I love the Proud Mary line (and the name!). I didn't know about their socially cooncisus production though and am excited to learn more. Thanks so much for sharing this Meg!

| Posted on 2013-11-13 | by a guest


.: :.

I really like how the cloak turns into a situeholte from the shoulders down.Makes Poe really stand out.Well,I suppose that`s why you did it,innit?

| Posted on 2013-11-12 | by a guest


.: :.

To all of you who refer to Poe as 'this guy' you are uncouth. Anyone who is not familiar with this legendary poet is either an unintelligent adolescent(in which case it is excusable) or merely as previously stated, UNCOUTH.
This poem is reflecting the nature of death and how the inevitable death for mortals is not our end. Our thought remain, our 'solitude is not loneliness'.

| Posted on 2013-11-03 | by a guest


.: :.

he dealt with death differently than we do now. that is why i believe he wrote this poem so we could see how he dealt with death in his life

| Posted on 2013-04-19 | by a guest


.: :.

I think this poem means how you feel after a loved one has died. Like his wife. It also means what she might feel. But I dont know and i also think there is something in there about chicken... JK

| Posted on 2012-11-13 | by a guest


.: :.

The poem “Spirits of the Dead” does not seem to suggest any specific storyline or definitive characters. Rather, it reads like Poe’s reflection on the inevitability of death in general. He personifies the night time and stars saying that they will not look down, but they will seem to give a ‘burning fever,’ a desire to live in the mortal world. It is observed through the poem that he is lamenting about the loss of his wife, Virginia Clemm Poe, and how her leaving him has deeply grieved him. The mood of the poem is that of sadness, depression, brooding oppression and dismay. However, the mood has a slight shift from sadness to anger, then to resignation. It is observed through the imagery of change from dark, night, tombstone, to red, fever, glowing, burning, and finally mist, breath, and breeze. This shows that he finally had come to terms from being frustrated and aggravated to a resignation that death occurs as and when it wants to, and it is only a matter of time before one has to give in to death. In conclusion, the enigma of life and death that goes full circle is reflected in his choice of words, specifically in the first and last stanza. The word “secrecy” in the first stanza is echoed in the words “mystery of mysteries” in the last stanza. Hence, Poe’s “Spirits of the Dead” has a denouement that echoes its beginning, brining it full circle, just like life and death itself.

| Posted on 2012-07-02 | by a guest


.: :.

The poem “Spirits of the Dead” does not seem to suggest any specific storyline or definitive characters. Rather, it reads like Poe’s reflection on the inevitability of death in general. He personifies the night time and stars saying that they will not look down, but they will seem to give a ‘burning fever,’ a desire to live in the mortal world. It is observed through the poem that he is lamenting about the loss of his wife, Virginia Clemm Poe, and how her leaving him has deeply grieved him. The mood of the poem is that of sadness, depression, brooding oppression and dismay. However, the mood has a slight shift from sadness to anger, then to resignation. It is observed through the imagery of change from dark, night, tombstone, to red, fever, glowing, burning, and finally mist, breath, and breeze. This shows that he finally had come to terms from being frustrated and aggravated to a resignation that death occurs as and when it wants to, and it is only a matter of time before one has to give in to death. In conclusion, the enigma of life and death that goes full circle is reflected in his choice of words, specifically in the first and last stanza. The word “secrecy” in the first stanza is echoed in the words “mystery of mysteries” in the last stanza. Hence, Poe’s “Spirits of the Dead” has a denouement that echoes its beginning, brining it full circle, just like life and death itself.

| Posted on 2012-07-02 | by a guest


.: :.

i think this poem is Poe\'s way of dealing with the loss of someone he loved, probably his wife. it talks about how even though the person he is talking to is now dead and separated from the living, and in that way is alone, they will not be lonely because the spirits of people who they knew in life and have died before them are now with them for eternity.
when he tells the deceased to \"Be silent in that solitude\" he may be telling them not to remind him that they were alive because their memory is too painful.
then it talks about how though stars offer some kind of hope to the living, maybe because it demonstrates God\'s power, they offer no hope to the deceased because they are dead and knows what happens after we die, and God have very little to do with it. the \"red orbs without beam\" serve as a constant reminder that faith is pointless.
the next stanza says to me that the narrator is recalling memories of them and the deceased, and no new memories can be made because they are dead.
the next stanza; no wind is blowing. the mist sits lightly upon the hill, probably in the graveyard where the person is buried, and is not disturbed. the mist symbolises how the person is now shadowy and untouchable as they are dead.
the last two lines say how at the end of the day. nobody really knows what comes after death, and it its still a \"mystery of mysteries\".

| Posted on 2012-05-23 | by a guest


.: :.

What the hell, man! This does not even relate to the actual poem! Edgar, your writing is good, but try to be a bit more sober next time you write in your afterlife. Well, at least now you know what would you see after death, so that is a relief for you!

| Posted on 2012-03-21 | by a guest


.: :.

Edgar Allen Poe wrote dark and depressing poems throughout his life. “Spirits of the Dead” is no exception for dreariness and depression. In “Spirits of the Dead,” Poe writes a five stanza poem with a rhyme scheme of aabbcdcdeeffgg… The rhyme scheme is consistent throughout the poem. Each of the stanzas expresses different aspects about dying, death, and the afterlife. “Spirits of the Dead” is written with iambic tetrameter.
The first stanza talks about dying and being all alone ‘Thy soul shall find itself alone’ and stuck in the graveyard in secrecy and cut off from everything that they once knew when they were alive. This shows that no one will come and ‘pry’ into your privacy of the grave. In the second stanza, Poe criticizes the dead for being restless in their afterlife. He tells them to be quiet and accept their loneliness. He says that previous spirits are with them and not to worry. He then tells them to be still.
In the third stanza, Poe personifies the night time and stars saying that they will not look down, but they will seem to give a ‘burning fever,’ a desire to live in the mortal world. He shows that the stars (red orbs) are a symbol of hope for everyone, dead or alive.
In the fourth stanza, the author describes how all of your thoughts and ideas will never go away. All of the parts of your mind are stuck and will never leave your spirit. For all of eternity and until the end of time, that is what will stay with you and nothing else. The fifth stanza contains a conclusion to the poem. It asks if we actually know what will happen to us when we die. The answer remains uncertain. It surely is ‘a mystery of mysteries!’

| Posted on 2012-03-21 | by a guest


.: :.

This is a bunch of crap and i have no idea what this guy\'s deal is, is he drunk or is he on drugs? He dreamed of ghosts, huh!?! I would like to go to him right now and take a piece of pie and stuff it down his throat until he dies a second time. Then he will see how fun it is to be a stupid little girly ghost

| Posted on 2012-02-29 | by a guest


.: :.

i think this poem is about solitute. Isolation can be described like this as,\"Unbroken,\" or a \"Mystery\"
Brianna Winebarger

| Posted on 2011-10-03 | by a guest


.: :.

i think this poem is abou what happens to the spirits, where will they go. Either to Heaven or Hell.

| Posted on 2011-05-11 | by a guest


.: :.

I would just like to say for those who make connections with the poem to events in Poe\'s life, get it right. This poem was published with Tamerlane and Other Poems in 1827, before he\'d gotten x

| Posted on 2011-03-22 | by a guest


.: :.

i think that this poem is about what happens to the soul once it leaves the mortal world.

| Posted on 2010-11-19 | by a guest


.: :.

Well, Poe is only afraid. not afraid of death but afraid of life. This is all that this poem is about. how you can see how horrible life can be but when you turn around, right there, staring at you is the mere thought of death. Even thoug I\"ve only put thought in the first few stanzas, it really makes a difference when you use the words solitude and lonliness. But my analysis is nearig its final few sentences. I favr Poe for all of his stories and poems about death, murder, etc. etc. But when you break down the poem, you eventually will get the real meaning of this poem. so, just break it down. out

| Posted on 2010-10-11 | by a guest


.: :.

I believe that this poem is crap and that there is no meaning to it. I mean we think more about what may be hidden in a poem than the poet did!!! The over anaylsising of poems ruins the actual poem causing people to eventually despise it which is not what we want for people to feel. We have to admit that there is no meaning.

| Posted on 2010-06-03 | by a guest


.: :.

This says that when you die you Heaven is above all, and those that are not worthy will go to Hell. No matter where you go whatever you did or thought on Earth will remain with you in death. These are the last two lines in the last stanza, “How it hangs upon the trees, A mystery of mysteries!” My interpretation of this is that no one can really know for sure what happens in death, until we actually die ourselves. As humans though we will always wonder of what goes on in the afterlife

| Posted on 2010-05-31 | by a guest


.: :.

during Poes child hood he was shipped of to england to go to school. during this time he stayed at his best friends house most the time. during this time he fell inlove with his best friends mom. in which he writes about in "anabelle lee" then she died casting Pe into depression at which time he wrote this poem depicting his deep sorrows.

| Posted on 2010-01-07 | by a guest


.: :.

I believe that it has some reference to his wife dying and that maybe he wrote this poem because maybe she feared death and was guessing about what would happen after death - where you go, is there a god, will I see loved ones again - stuff like that. I think that Poe feels depressed and feels that even though he has suffered his whole life, that theres hope after death. I also think that maybe Poe is saying that he believes that once someone dies they do not wonder on Earth (ghosts) but go to heaven or hell.
I agree with many of what Lonely Vampire wrote in her/his interpretation.
AGH

| Posted on 2009-12-29 | by a guest


.: :.

I feel like the start Poe is explaining that when biological death occurs, you live. Before you Live you are actually dead. The tombstone is foreshadowing the "final" end. The soul is free in a sense.
"Be silent in that solitude,
Which is not loneliness- for then
The spirits of the dead, who stood
In life before thee, are again
In death around thee, and their will
Shall overshadow thee; be still. "
This is basically saying we are all dead in what we call life. We are living in hell, but in a sense we are just all dead in hell. Then when we actually live we die. Kinda crazy but I can connect to it.
Then basically he talks about Its just a mystery as of what God does, if there even is a God.

| Posted on 2009-07-20 | by a guest


.: :.

I think Poe is trying to explain how those that have been with you in life will watch over you in death. It explains how "Thy soul shall find itself alone". The poem emphasizes on lonliness and solitude, and how death is a mystery. It explains how there is a light that gives hope.

| Posted on 2009-05-19 | by a guest


.: :.

I think Poe is trying to explain how those that have been with you in life will watch over you in death. It explains how "Thy soul shall find itself alone". The poem emphasizes on lonliness and solitude, and how death is a mystery. It explains how there is a light that gives hope.

| Posted on 2009-05-19 | by a guest


.: :.

Poe is explaining a version of death. Specifically the death of someone who becomes an earth bound spirit. "Thy sould shal find itself alone mid dark thoughts.". The spirits of those who stood before you in life are again with you in death, if they are also earth bound. These are spirits that have unfinished business. Mournful brooding souls who seek some sort of comfort and closure that will never come. This type of spirit is tormented and would find no joy or hope in the night sky or the twinkling of stars. The sky would only mock them, being a contstant reminder of the lives they lost and their seperation from the breath of God. The rest is just imagery, setting the mood, to make the point. At the end Poe does speak of the mystery of life and death. Obviously only the spirits of the dead know the answers.

| Posted on 2009-03-17 | by a guest


.: :.

I think that it is about people trying to understand something known, documented, but not understood, in this case, death and what comes after. It is something so simple yet so complex, that the universe seems to be against you. The thoughts will not leave and will not be comprehended. Poe uses the fog as an analogy.
Shadowy, shadowy _ yet unbroken
It is a symbol and a token
It doesn't matter if you understand it or not, it exists and will continue to exist.
Another example is "Through the Never" by Metallica.
All that is
Ever, ever was
Will be ever
Twisting, turning through the never

| Posted on 2009-03-15 | by a guest


.: :.

I think this poem is about Poe's wife because she died, and he was saddened by her death. Also I think he sort of lost hope hence the line,''With light like hope to mortal's given.'' He lived a depressing life so, her death was like a another bitter pill for him to take which is life. The poem also states that having a loved one die (like his wife) is like having a burning and a fever which refers to sadness and would cling to him or you forever.

| Posted on 2009-01-12 | by a guest


.: opinion :) :.

supernatural phenomena - not implicitly mentioned but definetly implied 'their red orbs'burn into the persona as he makes his way through the graveyard. Later there is a clearer allusion to the supernatural. "the spirits of the dead that stood in life around thee are again in death around thee...' They (the spirits) serve as a presence that dispels any notion that God has any influence in that place.
Religion - S.O.T.D takes place in a graveyard traditionally christian burying grounds, though this poem implies a lack of religion as even 'the breath of god is still'. The old book of genisis tell the story of how god breathed life into Adam and so the absence of the breeze equals an absence of life.
Melodrama - Poe uses melodrama to amplify the eerie atmosphere of S.O.T.D. By stating that the 'stars shall not look down from their high thrones' creating scenery devoid of even starlight.
Fear - S.O.T.D draws particularly on the theme of death and what lies beyond, playing on fears of the overwhelming power of the risen dead. 'In death around thee, their will shall over shagow thee: be still'

| Posted on 2008-03-10 | by a guest


.: why :.

i believe that this poem is talking about a spirit or ghost most would say is trying to explain the feelings of death not only to the dying but the faimly as well poe has always had a morbid way of thinking but i think is a completely diffrent concept he is preparing us for the grief that comes with death like how our bodies may vanish but ou memory will remain with those who will constinly think of us weather they know of it or not. it also goes into how those who remember us will feel the same grief as the dead and or dying but i completely agree with this poem that poe wrote death is a sort of mystery but only to those who have never felt the grief of loseing a "LOVED ONE"

| Posted on 2008-02-28 | by a guest


.: opinion :.

my opipion on this poem is that it is not about something sad but happiness...how would you feel if a love one you lost a long time and suddenly after you are together again... how would you feel

| Posted on 2008-01-23 | by a guest


.: :.

I think this was about death and dying alone. This poem was good in the fact that most people think dying is a blessing to help you move on. This is stating the opposite telling us that death is a curse.

| Posted on 2008-01-15 | by a guest


.: :.

“Spirits of the Dead” by Edgar Allen Poe is a poem about dying, and not being afraid of death. Poe discusses how upon death you, the reader, shall find yourself alone by your tombstone, but you won’t really be alone. He talks about how all of those who where with you in life and had passes on will meet you there. Poe mentions that even though visually you shall vanish from view, the memory of you will forever live on in hearts and minds of those who knew you while you where alive. He also mentions that ‘gods’ breath shall remain still, meaning that dying is something that is meant to be; it is natural and shouldn’t be feared. I also get the feeling that this poem was written for someone who is about to die, or has just recently died, because he writes “thee”, the objective form of thou, which is the old English for ‘you’. Although Poe could be just speaking to the reader and attempting to explain to us that death isn’t something we need to fear, the poem still gives off the impression of being written more specifically for someone else.

~Lonely Vampire
8:38 May 08, 2007

| Posted on 2007-05-08 | by a guest


.: Spirits of the Dead :.

In Spirits of the Dead, Poe records the monologue of a dead man speaking to a dying one. In the first two stanzas spoken by the ghost, he speaks of dying. “Thy soul shall find itself alone amid dark thoughts of the grey tomb stone.” Then spirits, with whom the dying man was familar with in life, appear and “overshadow” him. He then proceeds to explain death in the third stanza. According to Poe, rather than the conventional view of “bright light” and the high thrones in Heaven, death is dark and difficult—like a fever “which would cling to thee for ever.” The spirit continues by describing the institution of death as being similar to thoughts “thou shalt not banish”. He compares living to dew-drops on grass that come, then leave, then come again. Death is the end of that cycle. In the final stanza, the spirit says that the breath of God (or the breath in man from God) is stilled—dead people no longer breathe. Everything both internal and external is still. Poe, in the last line of the poem, gives his opinion of death, “A mystery of mysteries!”

| Posted on 2007-03-18 | by a guest


.: :.

I think this poem narrates his life (Poe's) as in what he feel's, he feels alone and uncertain of God's help towerd us, even though he is certain there is gifts in heaven for us for he says in his poem "The night-tho' clear-shall frown- and the stars shall not look down, from heaven, whith light like HOPE to mortal given- But their red orbs, without beam, to thy weariness shall seem as a burning and a fever wich would cling to thee for ever. Showing that even though he sufferd in his life he felt hope after death, even though uncirten of going to heaven or hell.

| Posted on 2007-02-28 | by a guest


.: spirits of the dead :.

Knowing Poe's style, this poem seems to be about how the memories of the dead haunt the living. One particular example of that is how the stars are absent, there is no heavens, but "red orbs." I don't see the theme of hope coming from this poem, or any of Poe's work for that matter, considering that the heavens are absent and God sends a mist. Mist usually symbolizes mystery and unease rather than hope and an uplifting tone. The line "Now are thoughts thou shalt not banish" only furthers Poe's point that the memories of the dead are continuous. They cannot be ridded, and the "burning and the fever" are with a man's soul forever.

| Posted on 2006-05-25 | by Approved Guest


.: anayalis :.

I am sure this poem is about depression.
that u will find your self alone thinging about death-tombstones.either no one will care or there is no one too care.Be silent don't let anyone know.It is only then that the people u knew in life will surround u in their death. their will shall overshadow thee-I might mean they want u to die so u can be with them.
The poem then talks of the night-although it is clear-shall disapprove of you. It speaks of the stars traditionally their to give hope to mortals. But now the stars shall make you feel like u have a fever-a disease-depression--.that it would never go away.
Then it says u will never forget these thoughts nor forget your ghostly visitors-they will never leave you. the power of god is still. Your dark thought are not broken. Almost like God can do nothing for you. Death is mystery. almost like it can never be solved


| Posted on 2005-08-06 | by Approved Guest


.: :.

I think he was talking about someone in a cemetery, who was standing by a tombstone, and spirits came to the guy, and began to circle around him, and he had to stand still, until they left, and it was like they were showing the guy the loneliness of death, and that final line of the last stanza, stating how death was a mystery. It's also how the heavens shun us, and don't help us when we are going through a lesson, and they let you go through it alone. Also how a small light from the heavens can brighten your day, and make the path more easier.

| Posted on 2005-06-30 | by EmpathicAya


.: opinon :.

My opinion of this poem by Edgar Allen Poe is that he is speaking of the unkown not only death but also life not knowing what to expect and even thoes that went before us afe still in memory and life and death will always be a mystory. It also talkes about the darkness and sadness one goes through. In the third stanza it talkes about the high thrones in heaven i think that that is talking about how god watches us but does not get involved in what is going on in our lives down here on earth and if we make it to his thrown we will see everything. The only thing god gives us on this earth is hope.

| Posted on 2005-03-19 | by Devils Angel




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