Subject Material

An Endless Pursuit

Published: 18.06.2013, Updated: 05.03.2017
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Money and success are for many the ultimate and only way to happiness. The value of any enterprise is measured by profit and loss, and motivation is defined by “What’s in it for me”. Even though we know that material success is only a shiny surface that does not say anything about happiness, many people carry on in the daily rat-race, obsessed by the glimmering prospect of more profit, and the hope that one day they will strike the big jackpot.
This little poem by Edgar Allan Poe may offer a different perspective on the endless pursuit of material wealth.


Eldorado by Edgar Allan Poe

Gaily bedight,
A gallant knight,
In sunshine and in shadow,
Had journeyed long,
Shiny ObjectsShiny ObjectsSinging 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.”


A Closer Look at the Poem

  1. What would you say is the theme of the poem?
  2. Why do you think “shadow” is a recurring element in the poem?
  3. The composition is typical of Poe. Compare with "Annabel Lee" and "The Raven"   and spot the similarities.
  4. The name Eldorado is originally Spanish; find out what it means.
  5. What is the conclusion in the last stanza?
  6. Do you think that we live in a materialist and commercialised society?
  7. Read more about Edgar Allan Poe.