Personification In Edgar Allen Poe's 'The Bells'

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As I read Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Bells” I began to realize that it was showing the timeline of a person’s life. This poem describes four points in the main characters life. This is shown using the various sounds of the four different bells mentioned and by using personification. Each bell and its sounds are used to express moods to reflect what they mean; birth, marriage, illness, and death. Each of these descriptions was clear to me in what they meant.

In the poem, the first bells to ring out are the ‘silver’ bells, which to me suggest the first stage in life. To me these bells, in their joyous ringing are used to symbolize birth and how extremely happy a person may be when their child is born. Edgar Allen Poe writes “In the icy air
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I feel as though this part is more about the burial of the main character rather than the actual death itself. “What a world of solemn thought their monody compels!” (Stanza 4, line 3) This line gives me the image of a cemetery where those who are alive are mourning the dead who lie silent. The people in the steeple watch, parted from their recently deceased loved one, “And the people- ah, the people-/They that dwell up in the steeple/All Alone.” (Stanza 4, lines 10-12). Edgar Allan Poe goes on to describes them in more detail “They are neither man nor woman-/They are neither brute nor human-/They are Ghouls:-”(Stanza 4, lines 17-19)“ tells me that they are demons. This to me makes the king of the Ghouls none other than the Devil himself. The Devil, the king, is celebrating the death of the main character as it is his triumph. The ending of the poem puts an image of the Devil and his demons dancing and merrymaking because they have captured another soul. “And his merry bosom swells/With the paean of the bells!/And he dances, and he yells;” (Stanza 4, lines 24-26). The final human characteristic that the poet gives to the bells, “To the sobbing of the bells” (Stanza 4, line 35) makes me think that, overall, this poem is actually quite a sad one, even though in the beginning it does not seem that way. This last stanza of the poem is definitely the saddest and longest of the four. It is used to emphasize the frightful …show more content…
The usage of these onomatopoeias told me that the sounds of the bells have a highly important role in the story the poet is trying to tell. It is possible that the constant repetition of the bells and their different sounds represents, to me, the determination of life. Death will still always conquer life or perhaps all that life is, is just the journey to death that we all must take. A snippet used in the poems first verse, "Keeping time, time, time, In a sort of Runic rhyme," (Stanza 1, lines 9-10/Stanza 4, lines 27-28) is repeated in the fourth stanza. At first, I did not realize what it meant but once I reached the fourth stanza and saw it once again I decided that it was to tell me about the absoluteness of death. I also noticed that the third line of stanzas one, two and three they end the same by using either the words ‘foretells’ or ‘tells’ which can both be interpreted to mean what’s ahead or what is to come next, although this is not repeated in the last stanza which I think is used to show how everything, no matter how great, leads to death. Overall, I think that Edgar Allan Poe wanted his readers to know that happiness is fickle, that life is basically pointless and that all life, no matter what, must eventually succumb to death. Death is always sad, hopeless and

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