"Eldorado" by Edgar Allan Poe Lesson
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Vocabulary for "Eldorado"
: arrayed; dressed
perhaps a gold nugget, gem, or another sign of Eldorado
: shadow of a traveler. Thus, the pilgrim shadow may be the knight's own inner self (ambition, motivation) in the form of an apparition driving him on in spite of his weariness. One may also interpret it as death overtaking the knight.
Valley . . . Shadow
: These words echo the phrase
valley of the shadow of death
in Chapter 23:1 of the Book of Psalms in the Old Testament of the Bible.
: reference to the pilgrim shadow.
is another word for apparition or ghost. But unlike
, or any other word for
, thus keeping up the rhythm and musicality of the poem.
" In rhyming 'Eldorado'and 'shadow,' one must remember that Poe likely had a slight Southern drawl, even after years of living in more Northern climates. "
By Edgar Allan Poe
A gallant knight,
In sunshine and in shadow,
Had journeyed long,
Singing a song,
In search of Eldorado.
But he grew old
This knight so bold —
And o'er his heart a shadow
Fell as he found
No spot of ground
That looked like Eldorado.
(This is the left part of the painting
The Knight at the Crossroads
by Viktor Vasnetsov. In-poe.html)
And, as his strength
Failed him at length,
He met a pilgrim shadow —
"Shadow," said he,
"Where can it be —
This land of Eldorado?"
"Over the Mountains
Of the Moon,
Down the Valley of the Shadow,
Ride, boldly ride,"
The shade replied, —
"If you seek for Eldorado!"
"In 1849, the word 'Eldorado' had great appeal. This was, of course, the year of the California gold fever. Poe's poem, 'Eldorado,' mocks that fever, proclaiming that the true riches of life are not to be found in this world."
"El Dorado is also sometimes used as a metaphor to represent an ultimate prize or 'Holy Grail' that one might spend one's life seeking. It could represent true love, heaven, happiness, or success. It is used sometimes as a figure of speech to represent something much sought after that may not even exist, or at least may not ever be found. Such use is evident in Poe's poem 'El Dorado.'"
Travels to the Equinoctial Regions of America by Alexander von Humboldt
Notes and Annotation courtesy of Michael J. Cummings
What does the word " Eldorado" mean?
the gilded one
a city in Spain
a French colony
Spanish explorers coined the term in the early 1500's to refer to a legendary
tribal chief in northern South America.
3. According to tales the Spaniards heard, a ruler presided over a kingdom rich in
and precious gems.
It was said that he covered his body with gold dust during festivals, then later washed it off
in the bathroom
in a bucket
in a lake
The “golden city” in which he was believed to reside was called Omagua (or Omoa). As time passed, the
itself came to be called Eldorado.
Explorers from Spain, Portugal, Germany, and England searched the northern reaches of
to find the kingdom and its wonderful treasures.
None of the expeditions succeeded. Subsequently, Eldorado was used to refer to
challenging goal or dream
or any enterprise promising to yield wealth or opportunity.
(The image is courtesy of