The Raven by Edgar Allen Poe - Essay Example

Published: 2021-08-11
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University of Richmond
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The characters found in The Raven" are Lenore, the Raven, and a young male who is the speaker of the poem. The young male mourns in his room as a result of the death of his lover, Lenore. He is desperate and sad thus is seen to self-inflict torture by asking questions which cause him more pain. The Raven appears on the young mans window on a cold night. The raven is quite remarkable as it can only utter one word, "Nevermore," which might have been from its previous master. The young man asks the raven questions despite the knowledge that it only is aware of one word. It is this continuous questioning of the Raven that continues to inflict pain on the young man. These characters enhance the theme of soul elevation after facing loss, in this case, the loss of a loved one. The choice of the Raven as a character is symbolic of a melancholic mood. More so, the Raven can utter a word which the poet carefully chooses as "Nevermore." The relevance of this word is dependent on the questions asked by the sad young man. As the questions progress, we notice a development of seriousness which was not there initially. This progression of questions arouse feelings of unhappiness flowing throughout the poem as thoughts of despair cloud ones mind. Additionally, the characters enhance the theme of love evident in the obsession and emotional dependency of the young man after the death of Lenore.

Like most of Poes poems, The Raven is rich in detail which allows us to comprehend what is going on in the poem. The poem begins with a description of the setting and current state of the speaker. An instance of words that embellish the sad tone and melancholic tone of the poem is, vainly I had sought to borrow from my books surcease of sorrow sorrow for the loss of Lenore (Kennedy, 2014). In addition to the above, the poem is descriptive in the theme of love by having the Young man drown himself in statements such as, Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my door! (Kennedy, 2014). This statement describes the attachment the young man develops after the death of Lenore which portrays the human need to find meaning in places where meaning does not exist. What's more, poetic devices such as rhyme, symbolism, and alliteration bring life to the poem. For instance, at the beginning of the poem, rhyming is noticed in the lines, "Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary (Kennedy, 2014). These words trigger our imagination to create a mental picture of how the night felt sorrowful as it looked dull and lifeless. Apart from that, the authors use of symbolism is evident by having the Raven as a character symbolizing death and loss.

In a poem, descriptive language is used to help the writer entertain, inform or educate readers about a poem. In this poem, the writer has extensively used graphic language to create a plot and bring out various emotions of the speaker. To describe the raven, the narrator uses words like grim, ancient, stern, and ebony. Additionally, the bird is also referred to as unmoving and fearless. These words help create a mental picture of a majestic bird which could be viewed as a black-haired, stern, and strict woman who is very unfriendly. Apart from that, the poem describes the only word the raven says as being, caught from some unhappy master (Kennedy, 2014). Also, the writer describes the embers as dying in the first two lines of the second stanza which continues to create a picture of how the night was. As we read on, we learn that the speaker was spending the evening reading old books in front of a fire that was slowly dying as his mind wanders off to think about Lenore. The word Dying," emphasizes the fact that Lenores death was still fresh in the speakers mind. As one reads through the poem, one cannot help but feel sorry for the speaker as he struggles to deal with this tragedy. Even more, thoughts on how to prevent such a painful occurrence in the name of love fill ones mind.

The speakers chosen by Edgar in The Raven are all relevant in conveying the mood of the poem. The young man is sad, and he portrays this without hiding behind his words. He is devastated due to the loss of his beloved thus mourns. Furthermore, the ravens presence in the poem reinforces the speakers solemn mood. In the poem by Robert Frost, The road not taken," the speaker is in the woods where he is faced by a dilemma to make about which of the two roads he is supposed to take. He makes his choice and assures himself that he will take the other on another day and acknowledges the fact that his future self-will betray this choice. The speakers in both poems are ideal for their respective situations in the poems. The speaker in Frosts poem explains the nature of any decision which is there exists no right choice just the choice taken. This perspective brings about thoughts of freedom in any decisions and disregards all feelings of being judged for choosing a specific path. The speaker in Edgar's poem enlightens us on the aftermath of the loss of a loved one. The speaker helps us to think of how humans can be clingy and thus bring suffering to themselves.

In a way, the poem The Raven by Edgar Allen Poe has its unique way of criticizing the society obliquely. In general, it majors on the society by showing some negative ways or ideas humans create in their mind which affect their emotions. The writer depicts that the Raven knows all the answers to all the questions asked. This notion in return creates more sorrow and remorse to the persona adding pain to the wound of him losing his loved one. The bird could only utter one word, Nevermore which the young man knew but kept asking questions which could relate to the bird's one-word answer. Furthermore, the scene makes us view the bird in a bad image as such can be described as being superstitious. This poem shows the effect of love and its capacity in humans in a way that, when this love is taken away or a tragedy hits, emotional torture then affects man. It also shows the profound grief humans feel when a loved one dies which sometimes takes over their emotions and lead to imaginations of weird images as in the poem. This poem tries to question the human beliefs of hope and love which at an extreme could lead to excess grief and hurt. The poem shows the societys tenderness to facilitate grief.

Love is a theme that is common in most poems. For instance, the poem by Elizabeth Barrett Browning, How do I love thee? Let me count the ways, the topic of love emerges. This poem was written while the speaker was being courted by the man who became her husband and she expressed her love for him. This poem approaches the theme of love as an occurrence between two people who are alive. The narrator talks about the belief that she would love his husband even after death and love him like men striving for rights. She also makes the reader have no doubt regarding how she feels about the man she loves. Their love is enduring which with time would outlast death that is if God would allow. In The Raven" Edgar is also on the theme of love where the speaker's beloved is no more, and he expresses his sorrow because of how much he loved her. This poem approaches love from the perspective of loss. The young man still loves Lenore despite her absence in his world. Love is a source of hope to human beings as depicted in both poems. For the young man in "The Raven," one can go on to assume that the only thing giving him the strength to keep living is his lover, Lenore. As for the speaker in Elizabeth's poem, love is a source of power and hope as each day; the narrator only does one thing, love her beloved.

Works Cited

Muth, Marcia F., X. J. Kennedy, and Dorothy M. Kennedy. Writing and Revising: A Portable Guide. Macmillan Higher Education, 2014.

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