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Edgar Allen Poe's "Eldorado"

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Patrick Kelly-Dutile

on 12 November 2013

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Transcript of Edgar Allen Poe's "Eldorado"

Edgar Allan Poe's "Eldorado"
This is a poem about a knight who goes looking for Eldorado, which is a fabled city made entirely from gold. As he lays dying, he asks a specter where Eldorado can be found, if at all.
Poe uses lots of repetition in "Eldorado". For instance, at the end of every stanza, he uses the word "Eldorado." Also, at the end of the third line in every stanza, he uses the word "shadow." The repetition used is emphasizing the knights desire to find the city of gold. Poe also uses a metaphor, an example of figurative language, in saying that to get to Eldorado the knight needs to journey to the moon.
Figurative Language
The poem says that a shadow fell over his heart. What Poe means by this is that he was beginning to get discouraged. His lifelong search had only ended in failure. And when he seeks the help of the spirit, the spirit tells him that Eldorado is "Over the Mountains of the Moon." This means that he is still hopelessly far away from his dream.
Ryhme Scheme
Poe uses lots of imagery in his poems and his short stories. For instance, how Poe describes the spirit and how the spirit tells the knight where to find Eldorado is imagery.
Poetic Devices
It is an "AABCCD" pattern in each of the four stanzas. The "A" ends differently in each of the stanzas, and is repeated twice. "B" always ends with the word "shadow". "C" is not similar in any of the stanzas, but is repeated twice in each stanza just like "A". Finally, the last rhyme in each stanza, "D", is always "Eldorado". "D" also always ends the sentence, using a different puntuation mark virtually every stanza.
Gaily bedight,
A gallant knight,
In sunshine and in shadow,
Had journeyed long,
Singing a song,
In search of Eldorado.

But he grew old—
This knight so bold—
And o'er his heart a shadow
Fell as he found
No spot of ground
That looked like Eldorado.

And, as his strength
Failed him at length,
He met a pilgrim shadow—
"Shadow," said he,
"Where can it be—
This land of Eldorado?"

"Over the Mountains
Of the Moon,
Down the Valley of the Shadow,
Ride, boldly ride,"
The shade replied—
"If you seek for Eldorado!"
Dramatic Situation
The speaker in Eldorado is a third-person narrator. They tell the audience about the knight, and how he is and has been looking for Eldorado for his entire life. The narrator has a rather mystical, gloomy tone where it makes you want to put a "..." after every sentence. Don't be mistaken by the fact that this is NOT a grim story whatsoever. It is rather humid and magical, with a hint of curiosity and light fog.
We thought this was an entertaining and just fun-to-read poem at first sight. However, it does have a deeper meaning. It is showing us of this mystical world in which a knight dreams to see, called Eldorado. Eldorado signifies heaven or all of your dreams and goals. The knights spends his whole life looking, but doesn't ever find it, signifying that it is hard to find happiness. And then, despite all his hard work, he finds out that is is still so so very far away and "Over the Mountains, Of the Moon, Down the Valley". This poem shows us that no matter how hard you work at something, it just might not work out.

Although it is a seemingly terse and to-the-point work of poetry, "Eldorado" has a meaning submerged within its stanzas. The theme of "Eldorado" is that happiness is hard to find and that no matter hard one looks, some things will always be just out of reach.
The mountains of the moon
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