Poe’s “The Conqueror Worm”: Deeper Meaning To the PoemPoe’s “The Conqueror Worm”: Deeper Meaning To the PoemWe often call Edgar Allen Poe one of the fathers of terror and mystery.
His twisted, Macabre tales and poems are filled with great detail and often endwith a dismal twist. “The Conqueror Worm” is one example of his masterfulrhymes and tells how a play on life turns into reality for mankind. The setting is a theater but it is not just a site for plays. Poedescribes it to be that way to trick the reader, but the theater is actually thesetting for mankind. We play our lives in this stage for everyone else to see. Lines three through six describe the crowd and how they are there to see “a playof hopes and fears.Order now
” If people would look beyond the point of reading the linejust to understand the words, they would see that the play is actually the livesof everybody in society. I say this because everyone has their own hopes likegetting a good job, succeeding, having a family and ultimately dieing happily. Along with their hopes, everyone also has their personal fears. The characters of the poem are also some very meaningful keys in showingthe hidden meaning. The first stanza describes the crowd that has gathered towatch the enactment of our human lives.
Lines three and four states “an angelthrong, bewinged, and bedight in veils, and drowned in tears. ” Poe is statingthat a group of angels is going to watch the spectacle put on for them, althoughthey are already drowning in the tears from plays before. The orchestra thatplays for them is another set of characters that have meaning. They representthe background in everyone’s life by “playing the music of the spheres.
” Athird set of characters that show hidden meaning is the “Mimes, in the form ofGod on high. ” They denote the people that inhabit the earth. Poe describesthem as “Mere puppets they, who come and go at bidding of vast formless things. “The vast formless things are the ideas that we have. Ideas like the things thatwe think we have to do for ourselves to survive and succeed. They also make updrama of the play.
A final, prominent figure in this dramatic performance isthe conqueror worm. Poe illustrates it as “a blood-red thing. ” He images theend of mankind as this but it could take any form. It is correctly namedbecause in the end no one is left standing except the “conqueror worm. “Many of the lines of “the Conqueror Worm” try to tell us a deepermeaning to the poem by using certain figures of speech.
The second stanza tellsus that the “vast formless things” spread trouble by “flapping from out theircondor wings invisible woe!” Poe was stating that the vast formless thingsspread their trouble in great fanning motions like the condor flaps its wings. The most important figure of speech would have to be the stage curtain comingdown like a funeral pall violently ending mankind and showing the Conqueror Wormas the victor. “The rush of a storm” signifies how the curtain quickly came toend the play and covered “each quivering form” to show that mankind was trulyfinished. Poe uses great sound in the poem.
Many of the alliterations addintrigue to the epic of the magnificent slaughtering worm. One example ofalliteration is the use of the letter l in the first two lines. “Lo! Tis a galanight within the lonesome latter years!” gives the reader an idea that Poe istelling a story with an eery setting. Sadness is also very evident in this linebecause it foreshadows the angel mob donned in veils to hide their tears.
Another use of alliteration is in the lines “through a circle returneth in tothe self-same spot. ” The stanza that it lies in tells us about the plot of theplay itself. The usage of the words beginning with s give us an idea of how themain character, or mankind, cannot escape a circle of bad events which willeventually lead to its death. Edgar Allen Poe wanted us to see how he thinks the world will end withthis poem.
He described the end as a disgusting, grotesque worm devouring usall but in a real sense, the play showed the troubles of man and how it will endour lives. The play was fittingly described in the last stanza by the mourning,pale colored angels as a tragedy that they called “Man”.English