Eldorado Essay, Research Paper
In the poem ?Eldorado,? the poet conveys the romantic attitude of following one?s passions to the very end, even throughout all circumstances. From a realist?s point of view, when times become challenging or success is unlikely, it is wiser to give up and stop wasting time. A romantic, however, views the pursuit of passions and human nature as the only goal; every worry or concern that lies in the way of emotional thought is only arbitrary. This poem is written in an AABCCB rhyme scheme and consists of four main stanzas, each with the repeating symbol of shadows and the legendary city of gold, Eldorado. The knight in the poem begins his journey with much enthusiasm, becomes discouraged later in life, and is then finally encouraged by his solitary inspiration: his romantic desire for finding Eldorado.
The introductory line, ?Gayly bedight,? shows the knight?s original enthusiasm and splendor in dress. Throughout the first stanza, the knight retains his motivation in ?sunshine and in shadow,? or in the bad times as well as the good times. Although he has already made a long journey, he is still ?singing a song? to show his lack of discouragement. The poet uses alliteration to emphasize an ?s? sound in the words sunshine, singing, song, and search. This creates a general feeling of an upbeat rhythm. The reader almost wants to sing the poem, rather than read it. At the end of the stanza, the phrase ?In search of Eldorado? shows the knight?s continual pursuit for his vision of paradise.
The second stanza continues with the ideas of shadows and Eldorado, but each of those terms take on a new twist. The first two lines state the knight?s progressed age in comparison with his original boldness. The third line of the stanza, ?And o?er his heart a shadow? shows depression falling upon the knight. The shadow, rather than a symbol of general ups and downs, now stands as a deep discouragement and a depressed spirit. Assonance is used with an ?o? sound in the words old, bold, o?er, shadow, found, ground, looked, and Eldorado to create an atmosphere of age and depression. The last two lines, ?No spot of ground that looked like Eldorado,? convey an emotion of doubt. The knight is now depressed and seems to be questioning whether he will ever find Eldorado.
The next stanza progresses the knight?s dismay to an extended level. Now, beyond a slight doubt, he is almost ready to forfeit his quest for paradise. The knight is old, and his strength has finally ?failed him at length.? However, before completely giving up, he meets a ?pilgrim shadow.? This shadow, now no longer a symbol of depression, meets him as a companion on the journey. In reality, the shadow is symbolized with personification but also represents a reflection of the knight?s own spirit and thoughts. The knight, discouraged and worn out, asks himself where Eldorado can possibly be. In this case, the knight doubts the very existence of Eldorado, or paradise.
The last stanza shows a response from ?the shade.? The phrase ?Over the Mountains of the Moon,? implies that paradise lies in unreachable lands. This is emphasized through capitalization. The third line, ?Down the Valley of the Shadow,? is a direct allusion to the biblical reference, Psalms 23:4, ?Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.? This allusion is especially apparent due to capitalization. In this case, the ?Valley of the Shadow? is a reference to death. The knight thinks introspectively and comes to the realization that paradise is unattainable on this earth, but he will not let the discouragements of the world inhibit him from reaching his goal. He will find paradise in Heaven. As a true romantic, he will ?ride, boldly ride? to attain the goal of his passion. The knight lifts himself out of depression and regains his inspiration. The shade replies, ?If you seek for Eldorado,? telling the knight to get back to his mission. He will follow his passions wherever they lead him, even through death, but he will find paradise.