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E:A:Poe: Eldorado

This poem by Edgar Allan Poe offers a different perspective on the “modern” theme of the endless pursuit of material wealth.

Handwriting on paper

Eldorado by Edgar Allan Poe

Shiny Objects
Shiny Objects

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.”

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.

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Literature from 1780 to 1840

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