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An Analysis of “The Raven” by Edgar Allan Poe

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How would you feel if you were thinking about your lost love and a raven appears and starts to talk to you, only saying nevermore? Edgar Allan Poe was born on January 19, 1809 in Boston, Massachusetts. When Edgar Allan Poe was only “2 years old, his mother passed away and he was adopted by the Allan’s” (Giordano 1). Throughout Poe’s life, John Allan was always helping out Edgar because John was a successful merchant who had a lot of money. By the time he left high school, Edgar had “no money, no job skills, and had been shunned by John Allan” since Edgar wasted a lot of John Allan’s money.

In 1831, “Edgar went to New York City where he had some of his poetry published since he wrote to a lot of magazines” and would eventually be an editor for a newspaper. By the time Poe was 27 years old, he married his 13 year old cousin, Virginia (Giordano 1). Edgar Allan Poe “died in a hospital on Sunday, October 7, 1849” (Giordano 1). Edgar Allan Poe’s poem “The Raven” illustrates the setting and also demonstrates many different symbols, imagery, and form and meters, too. “The Raven” by Edgar Allan Poe is about this man who lost the love of his life. It’s late at night and he keeps on thinking about this woman named Lenore while he’s starting to fall asleep.

Before he almost fell asleep, a raven was tapping on his window. This guy keeps on asking questions to this raven, but the raven responds nevermore. Towards the end of the story, the narrator asks more painful and personal questions that might make him go a little crazy by the end. Unlike other poem’s, “The Raven” is a rhyming trochaic octameter. Through this poem, there is a lot of rhyming.

Some words that rhyme in the first six line are dreary & weary, lore, door, & more, and lastly, napping, tapping, and rapping. Here is the first stanza with the rhyming words: Line 1: Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary, A Line 2: Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore – B Line 3: While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping, C Line 4: As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door – B Line 5: “ ‘Tis some visitor,” I muttered, “tapping at my chamber door – B Line 6: Only this and nothing more.” B

If you carefully read through the poem, there is a bump with each word, just like a march of some sort. Poe demonstrates a lot of playful rhythms throughout this poem, since it had a bumpy beat to it. Lastly, with the end of each stanza, all the last words end with an “or” sound. For example, he ends with “nameless here for evermore” for the first stanza, but the most used one is “Quoth the raven, ‘nevermore’” (Poe 1). With the form & meter being very long, the use of symbolism and imagery is heavily used in this poem. Even though the great majority of poems use symbolism, “The Raven” uses it very heavily since there are a lot of significant symbols in this poem.

The most significant symbols throughout the poem included are the raven and ‘his lost love’ Lenore. The raven is probably the most significant symbol because it’s the title of the poem. The raven in this poem symbolizes death, evil and most likely the devil. The lines 38-40, the raven makes its grand entrance. The raven is being described as a king or queen entering the room and the narrator states that its “mien” (its way of acting) is comparable to a “lord or lady” (Poe 1). Secondly, the most famous saying by the raven is “Quoth the Raven, Nevermore” since a lot the stanzas end with this line throughout the poem. Lastly, the final image of the bird is imagined as a dark figure that is told as a sleeping demon with burning eyes.

With the bird looking like a demon, the raven casts a shadow throughout the whole room, and makes the narrator extremely terrified. The poem starts off with a pretty funny talking bird, but by the end, the bird can be explained as a devil of pure satanic evil. Lenore in this poem, symbolizes lost love and the good in a lot of people instead of the raven. It’s pretty devastating that the narrator is always thinking about this lovely and gorgeous lady throughout the poem. Each time the narrator is trying to think of something else, he always ends up thinking about Lenore. The first time that Lenore’s name is mentioned is lines 10-11. It’s devastating that when the reader first hears Lenore’s name, it’s mentioned that she’s lost since she had passed away.

Secondly, in line 83, the speaker fantasizes about not remembering Lenore forever. It is said that the speaker’s memory has become a curse because they can’t stop thinking about Lenore in any way. Lastly, this is the last time the reader hears about Lenore in the poem. It’s strange that throughout the poem, the reader wanted to forget about Lenore, but by the end they are completely filled with love for this dead woman. He calls her “sainted,” “rare,” and “radiant.” It seems like Lenore is a person, but she’s actually an image of the speakers mind. With Lenore and the Raven being significant images and symbols, the setting is a key part in this poem. Unlike the symbolism between the Raven and Lenore, the setting is a major aspect to this poem.

The setting, in this case, is in the library in a rich person’s mansion. The library is important because first of all, the raven lands on top of the “sculpted bust” in the library and the poem is taken place in that particular room, too. The bust is described in many different ways throughout this poem since it starts off as a “sculpted bust” to a “pallid bust of Pallas” by the end with many more description. The descriptions of this room are so eccentric, since the curtains are described as “silken” and “purple” and secondly the narrator says that it’s located in a “chamber” since the things are always banging or knocking on his chamber door.

Lastly, the narrator describes the cushions on the chairs having “velvet violet lining” (Poe 2). Even though the narrator lives in a mansion, he came across a lot of rare and eccentric things in his chamber that made this story worth reading. In the poem “The Raven,” Edgar Allan Poe illustrates the setting and most of all he demonstrates a lot of different and unique symbols, imagery, and the many forms and meters throughout the poem.

Even though some people think being rich isn’t the worst thing, being told by a raven that you are a bad person for doing one or more things, than you’re in deep trouble. The narrator lived in luxury, but he got told by the raven he wasn’t going to heaven, but he was going to end up in hell since the raven represented evil. Being doomed by a bird or even a raven is the worst possible thing to happen in this poem. If you would to be told by a bird or even a raven that you were going to hell, what would you do?

Works Cited
Giordano, Robert. “A short biography of Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849).” 27 June 2005. 24 October 2012. Poe, Edgar A. “The Raven.” By Edgar Allan Poe. N.p., 1845. Web. 24 Oct. 2012. .

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