Site icon Victorian Era

The Conqueror Worm

“The Conqueror Worm” is one of the major poems by Edgar Allan Poe. The poem was first published in 1843 in a magazine called Graham’s magazine.

Later it was published in a short story by Edgar Allan Poe. ‘Vigeia’ was the name of the short story that talks about death and mortality. After publishing, the poet is being calibrated and also being adopted in a song and movie.


Edgar Allan Poe is describing a tragedy whom he gives a name ‘tragedy of men. This is the central theme that the poem is being established.

Except for the poet’s description of a tragedy, we will find the destruction of the crude nature of man. In the tragedy morality of the hero is being questioned many times. So morality is also a very relevant theme of the poem.

Edgar Allan Poe says that ‘conquering worm’ is the hero of the tragedy. Does a question come why the conquering worm is the hero? Maybe it is written to make a perfect climate of the poem that becomes a theme.


In the beginning, the poet speaks on an occasion. But here the poet is alone as he uttered. Then he states,

“An angel throng, bewinged, bedight
In veils, and drowned in tears,”

An angel throng and it bewinged at night. It veiled and the night gets dreaded in tears. There is no clear evidence that fills the night with tears.

These lines are very fragmented because in the next lines he creates imagery of sitting at a theater. He is watching a play of hope and fears.

The Conqueror Worm Lyrics

Maybe he is watching a tragedy by sitting in a theater. The orchestra breathes fitfully the music of the spheres. The second stanza begins with another imagination of god where he criticizes the identity of God as mimes or fool.

“Mimes, in the form of God on high,
Mutter and mumble low,”

He put God at a high position of mimes and he is muttering and mumbling. It is flying from here to there. These are all puppets Who have come and also gone.

They are doing improper and vast formless things. It is shifting the scenarios from one to another that seems it is moving.

“Flapping from out their Condor wings
Invisible Wo!”

At that time condor flapping their wings and looks invisible. Here the stanza ends. If we see then the poem is written in a fragmented pattern.

If we see Sapuel Taylor Coleridge’s “Kulba Khan” then will find the similarities with this poem. At the starting of the third stanza, he addresses the dramatic as ‘motley drama’ and it can be forgotten.

“With its Phantom chased for evermore
By a crowd that seize it not,”

In the drama there stays a phantom that chased for the evermore and even in the crowd of men, it never seized. The phantom then comes to its spot by circling round and round.

In the drama, there are much madness and more sins. In the drama, there was horror in the soul of the audience that makes them feared.

In the drama, the characters are mimic others in themselves that attract the readers much. There a drawing shaped character comes,

“A blood-red thing that writhes from out
The scenic solitude”

A red-blooded thing was that and comes it is writhing from out. This is scenario makes the audience solicited. Then it is writhing and writing and makes the mimes its food.

Maybe it is an animal like a tiger of a lion that eats man. Then the seraphs are started crying as the ‘vermin fangs’. So this line is producing the crudity.

Then Poe further states, it takes human gore or blood clot and inspires the audience to do that. This is a kind of Oxymoronic situation where the drama shows the crudities rather than social messages.

The Conqueror Worm

In the last stanza, he suddenly speaks out-out. Maybe these lines are uttered to the audience to go out from that place and then the curtain falls on the stage. It seems that the curtain falls like a ‘rush of the storm’.

“That the play is the tragedy, “Man,”
And its hero, the Conqueror Worm.”

Throughout the poem, Edgar Allan Poe was giving descriptions to the readers about a tragedy or tragedy of man and ‘the conqueror worm’ becomes the hero of this drama. The poem ends here but it has a very meaning regarding human life and death.


When a reader will start reading the poem will consider the poem as a fragmented poem that has not any clear meaning. But after going through the deeper stage will surely see that Poe is generally giving an example of a tragedy. And in a poem, he is trying to create images of drama that is taking place on the stage.

The poem is celebrated because he is explaining a whole drama in a poem of five stanzas. It would be very difficult to put up the context in front of the readers and most of the time readers can not get the central idea.

Except for morality, the question is a heart thing in the case of this poem. Edgar Allan Poe was sitting on a chair and looking at the drama.

Literary Devices

The poem is divided into five stanzas and each stanza consists of eight lines. A total of forty lines are there in the poem. In this poem, Edgar Allan Poe uses many literary devices.

At first come Cacophony that means the repetition of unharmonious sounds in a line like,

“It writhes!—it writhes!—with mortal pangs
The mimes become its food.”

Then comes exaggeration that means explaining a simple thing in various types like,

“Sit in a theatre, to see”

Throughout the poem, he describes the fact many times. Enjambment is also a literary device that comes in the context. It means the continuation of thoughts even to the next stanza like,

“And seraphs sob at vermin fangs
In human gore imbued.
Out—out are the lights—out all!”

Alliteration is another relevant poetic device that means the repetition of vowel sounds in line one after another like,

“Uprising, unveiling, “

Syncope is another relevant poetic use that means the writing words using apostrophe like,

“‘t is a gala night”

Questions and Answers

What is Edgar Allan Poe’s best work?

‘To Helen’ is the best work of Edgar Allan Poe.

Was Poe a drunk?

Yes, he was drunk when he was writing the poem.

What did Allan want Poe to become?

He wanted to become a businessman in his life.

Exit mobile version