The Bells Poem Analysis

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Life in “The Bells”

Can life can be dissected then labeled by “bells, bells, bells”? Poe’s famous poem, “The Bells” is a highly symbolic masterpiece, that perfectly illustrates Poe’s concepts of the stages of life, as well as his dark and pessimistic outlook, and descent into depression. Through his varyingly dark diction, symbolism relating to aspects of life, his specific layout of the poem, Poe elucidates his shifting attitude towards the sound of a ringing bell.
In “ The Bells” a range of diction, starting with lighthearted wording and progressing to morbid language is used to convey the shifting meanings that the speaker associates with the tintinnabulation of the bells. In the first stanza, the words “melody, twinkle, musical, and
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The form of the poem, although it appears random, holds much deeper meaning. The staggered position of the lines, when looked at as a whole, resemble a bell shape. The shape of the poem reflects the subject of the poem itself. The variation in line length, also simulate sound waves, and the echoing reverberation of a tolling bell. The first stanza has major spikes in the “sound waves” to replicate the sharp and joyous ringing of the silver bells. The second stanza has larger sections of long lines, to echo the deep melodious ringing of the golden bells. The shape of the third stanza conveys the quick percussion of an alarm bell ringing, which is also the subject of that particular stanza. The form of the third stanza is very uniform, to match the solemn throbbing of mourning bells, to add to the somberness of the imminent death that the iron bells symbolize. The length of each stanza is also significant. As the poem progresses, the stanzas include more lines. This is significant because, the escalation in the amount of lines, is representative of the amount of years passed in a person’s life. In childhood when one is young and innocent, people have not lived very long, hence the shorter stanza, and the theory continues on through the rest of the poem. The length can also be comparable to the amount of suffering or tribulation experienced by an individual. By the death, represented by the iron bells, the subject has experienced extensive hardship. The tribulation is measured in the number of lines devoted to the most final life

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