Significance of the Title To Helen by Edgar Allan Poe
Edgar Allan Poe was called the father of the modern short stories. His thematic assertion was truly rich in colour. In most of his poem his playing with core theme of black romance has put a signature mark in his literary creations. He has set a genre. The present poem is such a poem which has a mythological background. The poem entitled as To Helen gives a valid point to the theme of the poem. Helen was the epitome of love and beauty. The poem was first printed in the year of 1836 but it has a second version published in the year of 1845.
The poem is rich in romance and the poet the poet expressed his love reminds us of something else. Helen’s love for Paris is equivalent to the love of the poet for the lady, Jane Stanard. The equal status of both the couple made a common platform for love and romance. The poet’s comparison of Jane Stanard with Helen makes an extraneous praise. The title signifies to the theme of the poem which is soulfully for love and romance. This love here is only mixed with mythological stance.
Edgar Allan Poe was famous writer in the context of the short story. His genre of gothic romance and love make another place of importance. But here in the poem we experience another type of mythological importance of their love. Two figures of mortal beings by their love have become immortal by their love. Here, the poet’s address to Jane Stanard as psyche applies a new born theory of love. The elements of love archaic words here in the story create an impact of powerful love. The poet’s experiments with the charged mind of himself being in love with a 27 years old lady demand a special applause.
The poet has called here that the kind of love they make here is more than enough. It was really a love at first sight. Here, the love is expressed metaphorically. All the poetic languages used here are signaling towards amorous intensity. The poet’s knowledge and inclination towards mythological facts are appealing. It can be said that in this respects Poe was peerless in his time.
Sappho whom Poe is imitating had once compared a woman’s beauty to a fleet of ships. Byron had previously confirmed that Poe had already outwitted with this lines. However, the poem can never fully rise over the compact criticism of the scholars. Here the poet, Poe has shown himself as the weary wanderer. In actual historical facts, the sea was filled with the fleet of ships where no point of water body was seen. But the water of the sea was mixed with smell of oil but here, in this context of the poem, the sea is imagined as the perfumed one. In the classical time oil factories were a large extensive product.
The last two lines of the poem, with the glory which has been termed here as ‘Naiad airs’ are among the most frequently quoted lines in the world class literature. However, classical writers often mention the words more often in their writings to evoke the sense of classical beauty and grandeur.
Jane Stanard has been mentioned here as the psyche in the life of the poet. Psyche in German word is called the mind. The presence of Psyche in the life of the poet means a light of glory. As Eros gifted psyche with the light of glory the same way the presence of Jane in the life of the poet has made a glory of light.
“The agate lamp within thy hand!
Ah, Psyche, from the regions which
At the same time we can remind of the poet’s another poem which says about his lady love praising her beauty.
“That a maiden there lived whom you may know
By the name of Annabel Lee;
And this maiden she lived with no other thought
Than to love and be loved by me.”
However, the title of the poem reflects one thing that the poet by maintain the title as, “To Helen” compares his lady love with the utmost beauty of the earth, so the title of the poem reflects not only the love of the poet that resides at the heart of the poem. So the poet is conscious in making his love successful. So the title is justified.