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Decoding the Allegorical Elements in Poe’s ‘The Haunted Palace’

Jul 13, 2023 | 0 comments

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Jul 13, 2023 | Essays | 0 comments


The haunted palace by Edgar Poe is one of the finest poems of all times. The poem is associated and said to be derived from the poem the fall of the House of Usher. The poem is filled with mystery. The poem is an account of the both sorrow and happiness. The poem is metaphorical of the writer’s troubled life. At the beginning of the poem it is easy to read the thoughts of the palace of the human ruler) but as time progresses the palace gets cloudy and difficult to read. The poem’s most dominant theme is allegory; allegory means that the story or the poem has two meanings. Most of the times there is the surface meaning that is obvious to the readers as they read the poem (Wilbur 105). Then there is the deeper meaning that is symbolism in the poem. This paper shall discuss the theme of allegory in the Haunted Palace by Edgar Poe; the paper shall use quotes and examples from the poem to explain the allegory theme further.


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Poe begins by describing the palace, explaining how beautiful it looks like, a home for the ruler. For example, he says in the third stanza that;

Wanderer in that happy Valley

Through two Luminous Windows, saw

Spirits moving musically

To Lute’s well-tuned law ( Poe).

The first meaning of the above lines explains the palace structure and how beautiful it looks with its large windows. The symbolic meaning is that of the human structure, the mind, the luminous windows are the two eyes, and the door is the mouth of the human rulers. The internal symbolism deepens when Poe describes the mind of the ruler; he says that he has spirits that move through his mind, this illustrates the leadership qualities of the leader. The spirits are said to move in harmony creating music, this also describes the ruler’s leadership qualities that are useful every time he is called upon to make wise judgments.

The fifth stanza bears n allegory meaning, here the writer describes the evils that have entered the plc end the people who surround the king, “But evil things in robes of sorrow, Assailed the Monarch High estate”. Due to the evils in the plc and its monarch the good deeds re forgotten and a new story of madness is told of the palace. The symbolic meaning of these lines is that the mind of the ruler is corrupted by those close to him. He is no longer taking care of the needs of his people but those of his close friends only. The people are beginning to talk bout the changed deeds of the king ( Poe).

The last stanza explains the wrong doings of the palace end the human mind.

And travelers, now, within that valley.

Through the red-listen windows see

Vast forms that move fantastically

To a discordant melody,

While, like a ghastly rapid river

Through the pale door.

A hideous through rush out forever

And laugh-but smile no more ( Poe).

This stanza is the opposite of the good qualities described of the palace in the first stanzas. Everything in the place goes wrong. The people who now visit the palace re frightened travelers who are eager to get out of the palace. The once beautiful luminous windows are no longer clear and beautiful to look at; they are now covered in blood and frightening to look at. What goes on behind the windows is also evil; the spirits are no longer moving is musical tunes, they re disorganized and difficult to predict their next move, “Moving fantastically to discordant melody”. The last stanza’s symbolic meaning is that of the human mind. As described in the first stanza the human mind has organized spirits which are the qualities of leadership of the ruler. The thoughts are organized and give wise decisions. In contrast, the mind has disorganized thoughts, hard to predict. The eyes re bloodshot perhaps for lack of sleep due to the scattered thoughts. There is a hideous laughter t the end of the poem with no smile. The mind has gone insane and is chaotic ( Poe).


From its title, the haunted palace is an allegory poem that has more than one meaning. The title describes a palace a beautiful place that is haunted. In the beginning of the poem Poe describes the palace exterior outlook praising its beauty. The windows in the palace are the eyes of the human ruler; the door is the mouth and the spirits that hover in the palace re the thoughts that cross the human mind. The human mind is full of wisdom and sane at the beginning of the poem. Towards the end of the poem the palace is no longer praised instead it is described as a frightening palace visited only by the frightened travelers. The windows are no longer bright and luminous they are now covered in blood. The blood shot eyes describe the troubles that the human ruler is going through.

Works Cited

Poe, E. “The Haunted Palace”. The Works of Edgar Allan Poe, 1903.

Wilbur, Richard. “The House of Poe,” collected in Poe: A Collection of Critical Essays, edited by Robert Regan. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1967: 104–105.

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