Love Analysis Essay, Research Paper
Edgar Allen Poe s Eleonora and The Oval Portrait both show examples of the lost love archetype. The lost love archetype is when someone loses someone or something they love and find this exact love in another object or person.
In Eleonora , Poe speaks of a youth that is in love with his cousin Eleonora. The two lovers spent most of their youth together. They walked through the valley in which they lived for fifteen years before love for one another entered their hearts. : Hand in hand about this valley, for fifteen years, roamed I with Eleonora before Love entered within our hearts (1476). On their last walk through the valley he realized things were more beautiful than usual. : A change fell upon all things. Strange brilliant flowers, star-shaped, burst upon the trees where no flowers had been known before (1476). Suddenly a cloud appears letting the readers know a something is about to change.
Eleonora tells her lover that she is about to die and that she fears he will give his love for her to someone else. He then vows to never share his love with anyone else. : And then and there I threw myself hurriedly at the feet of Eleonora, and offered up a vow, to herself and to Heaven, that I would never bind myself in marriage to any daughter of Earth that I would in no manner prove recreant to her dear memory, or to the memory of the devout affection with which she had blessed me. (1477) Eleonora accepts her lovers vow and promises that her spirit will watch over him when she dies.
Time goes on and he begins to miss her. Time never cures the void he feels without her. : But the void within my heart refused, even thus to be filled . (1478) After Eleonora died he would see things that let him know she was watching over him but with time this stops. He begins to feel tempted to become involved with someone else. He then meets and falls in love with Ermengarde. Whenever he looks into her eyes he thinks of Eleonora. With his vow to Eleonora in mind he marries Ermengarde. Eleonora comes to him and says, Sleep in peace! for the spirit of love reigneth and ruleth, and in taking to thy passionate heart her who is Ermengarde, thou art absolved, for reason which shall be made known to thee in Heaven, of thy vow unto Eleonora (1478). This is Eleonora s way of telling him it s fine to marry Ermengarde and it will not be held against him.
The young lover in this story falls for Eleonora, loses her, and then finds the exact love in Ermengarde. This is how the lost love archetype is shown here.
In The Oval Portrait , Poe writes about an artist who loves painting deeply. He loves painting so deeply that he puts it first in his life even before the woman he supposedly loves. Poe describes the artist as He passionate, studious, austere, and having already a bride in his art (1480). This line gives the reader a perfect picture of how deep his love is for painting. The artist decides to paint a painting of his bride. He becomes so engulfed in the painting he forgets his bride who is posing for the painting. Weeks go by and the more he paints the more he falls in love the painting and less in love with his bride. His bride still continues to pose for the painting hoping she can win his heart and come before his love of painting. The artist eventually stops looking at his bride and begins to focus only on the canvas. He loves the painting so much he begins to believe the painting has life to it. While all this is going on his bride is still sitting patiently waiting for him to finish and this eventually takes a toll on her. The artist does not notice this. While he is finishing the painting his bride dies. He does not realize this until after he has finished the painting.
This story shows the lost love archetype because the artist loses love for his bride because of his obsession for painting which he finds the new love in. The picture still reminds him of his bride so the love is not totally lost because he can look at the painting and see her. Other people that saw the painting also fell in love with the girl and felt it had a life like expression. : At length satisfied with the true secret of its effect, I fell back within my bed. I found the spell of the picture in an absolute life-likeliness of expression, which at first starling, finally confound, subdued and appalled me (1480). These lines show how the person in the story fell in love with the so-called lost love and how he lost her. In most of Poe s work he falls in with a woman who reminds him of a previous love in his life. In this story it is not as living person it is a painting and the love of the painting replaces the bride he lost and once loved.