Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 12th grade April 2001

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Eldorado Essay The time is 1849, and California was thought of as a golden opportunity to transform your life. Dreamers wander across the U.S attempting to find gold amongst dirt. This sparked a thought in Edgar Allen Poe's mind and inspired him to write a poem about mankind's daily quest for fame, fortune, and happiness in an ancient city of gold, Eldorado. Of course, this isn't just any ordinary poem, it's a poem written by Edgar Allen Poe. That means that it is a poem given Poe's special touch.

The special touch that I am talking about is of technical devices, used to drive the poems and give the reader a better understanding of the meaning behind the poem. Alliteration, assonance, and the end rhyme all drive the poem on a technical level. The prime device that drove the poem was alliteration. Poe repeats the "s" sound (short and long), with words such as singing, song, search, sunshine, and shadow.

The rhyme scheme in the poem is A-A-B-C-C-B. The end rhyming really makes the words in the poem flow, and urges the reader to continue reading. Poe uses these devices to tell a simple story about a knight on a journey in search of Eldorado. The knight gets tired, and old, and fails in his search for Eldorado. A wanderer advises the knight that Eldorado is off in a far away place unknown to man, but to boldly keep searching for it. Even though this may seem like a straightforward story, the poem has a much deeper meaning.

The poem is about how Poe failed in his search for Eldorado. Eldorado is a land of happiness that cannot be found by man. People try to find happiness in fame and fortune, but that isn't where happiness is located. Poe is speaking through the wanderer in the poem and revealing that happiness is abstract, and that happiness isn't found in the destination of the journey, but in the journey itself. The joy comes from playing the game. Edgar Allen Poe incorporates this into the poem through the line in which the shade is advising the knight to "Ride, boldly ride if you seek Eldorado." The journey represents everyday life. You must go through the "sunshine and shadow", or pains of the journey just as the knight did, to be able to find true happiness in the journey and appreciate it. People, like the knight, are endlessly searching for ways to become rich and improve life, but the search becomes so overwhelming that life becomes sad and depressing, and we grow old before we can find and appreciate the true riches of life.

The poem teaches people not to spend life trying to become richer, but to go through life with a positive, "bold" attitude and you will find happiness.