Edgar Allan Poe


Edgar Allan Poe’s, “The Raven,” is a dark and lugubrious poem filled with sorrow and grief. The poem starts with a man sitting in a velvet chair in the middle of a dark, gloomy room. The fire in the fireplace against the wall is flickering, gradually dieing down to embers. It is night time and the man is trying to stay awake but is slowly nodding off. He sits in his chair reading in effort to forget about his lover, Lenore, who has passed before him. All of a sudden there is a noise and the man becomes frightened. He attempts to calm himself by repeating over and over, “‘Tis some visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door-this it is, and nothing more.” The man goes to the door, positive there is somebody there, and finds nothing but darkness. As he stands in the doorway he whispers the word Lenore and is answered by an echo. The man returns to the chamber only to hear another noise that was louder than the first, coming from his window. He paces over to the window and in flies a raven that perches itself above the man’s chamber door. The man asks the bird what its name is and the bird responds, “Nevermore.” The man is taken aback in disbelief that the bird was conversing with him, but says aloud that the raven will leave him, just like everbody else has in his life. To this the bird answers, “Nevermore.” At first the man is flabbergasted by the bird’s unexpected reply, but then comes to the assumption that this word was only taught to the bird and that the bird doesn’t really comprehend what it is saying. The man moves his velvet chair closer to the bird in attempt to make meaning of what the bird is saying. As the man is sitting in front of the raven, he starts to think of his lost lover, Lenore. In effort to forget about Lenore, the man drinks nepenthe, which is a type of sleeping drug. After the man asks himself questions, the raven answers with, “Nevermore.” The man finally asks if he will go to heaven and be reunited with Lenore once more. The raven replies, “Nevermore.” poe1[1].jpg

“Tell this soul with sorrow laden if, within the distant Aidenn,
It shall clasp a sainted maiden whom the angels named Lenore-
Clasp a rare and radiant maiden, whom the angels named Lenore?”

Quoth the raven,”Nevermore.”

After the raven responds to this final question, the man demands that the raven leave. Instead, the bird sits perched above the chamber door and doesn’t move a feather. At this point the man gives up all hope of ever seeing his beloved Lenore again.

Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling
By the grave and stern decorum of the ocuntenance it wore,
‘Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou,’ I said, ‘art sure no craven.
Ghastly grim and ancient raven wandering from the nightly shore-
Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night’s Plutonian shore!
Quoth the raven, ‘Nevermore.’

‘Prophet!’ said I, ‘thing of evil!’ – prophet still, if bird or devil!-
Whether tempter sent, or whether tempest tossed thee here ashore,

Desolate yet all undaunted, on this desert land enchanted-

On this home by horror haunted – tell me truly, I implore-
Is there – is there balm in Gilead? – tell me – tell me, I implore!’

Quoth the raven, ‘Nevermore.’

These are two examples of allusions that were used in Edgar Alllan Poe’s, “The Raven.” In the first excerpt, Poe references “Night’s Plutonian shore,” which is used to represent the same characteristics of Hell or
Hades. Poe uses this allusion in this particle spot to show the frustration the man has with the raven. The raven repeats the word, “Nevermore,” after every time the man asks a question. The man is contemplating over questions about seeing is lost lover and the raven implies that the man will never see her again. Furthermore, the man believes that the raven is evil and asks him what is the name of the person from the Night’s Plutonian shore that sent him, implying the raven is from the underworld. In the second excerpt, Poe uses the allusion, “Balm in Gilead,” which refers to peace. The man is infuriated with the raven for telling him that he will not see his lover again and in desperation pleads, “Is there – is there Bam in Gilead? – tell me – tell me, I implore!” The man is asking the raven if there is peace, meaning, will he ever see Lenore again.

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curios volume of forgotten lore,
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
‘Tis some visitor,’ I muttered, ‘tapping at my chambor door-
Only this, and nothing more.’

Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December,

And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor.

Throughout many of Poe’s literary works, he writes with a dark and gloomy tone. This is definitely shown in his poem, “The Raven.” In this excerpt he sets the scene for his readers in the beginning stanza. This story takes place in a chamber room with a fireplace, velvet chair, and a large chamber door. When I think of chambers, I think of dungeons which are dark, cold and spooky. The story also takes place on a late, cold, December night. The fire in the fireplace is starting to turn to embers and cease. In Edgar Allan Poe’s, “Pit and the Pendulum,” the man is sentenced to death. This story is also dark and gloomy, like, “The Raven.” In the, “Pit and the Pendulum,” the man is locked in a room filled with complete darkness, and is contemplating many issues just like the man in, “The Raven.”

But the raven, sitting lonely on the placid bust, spoke only,
That one word as if his soul in that one word he did outpour.
Nothing further then he uttered – not a feather then he fluttered-
Till I scarcely more thatn mutter ‘Other friends have flown before-
On the morrow he will leave me, as my hopes have flown before.’

When Edgar Allen Poe was 27 years old, he married his first cousin, Virginia, who was 13 years old. Years later, Virginia passed away. This unfortunate event contributed to Poe’s dark literary works such as, “The Raven.” I believe that this poem was written about his wife, Virginia. This poem is about a man who has lost his lover and wants to be reunited with her. In this excerpt it talks about how the man feels as though the raven is going to leave because everyone else has in his life. I believe Poe wrote this poem to express his feelings about the loss of his wife and the abandonment he felt. In Bradstreet’s poem, “In reference to her children,” she talks about her life as a mother and her life with her children. In Ben Franklin’s essay, “The whistle,” he writes about his experience with spending too much time and effort in procuring materialistic ideas of living. Poe wrote this poem in reference to his loss, and evokes emotions that he felt when it happened to him.

After reading this poem, I could infer that Edgar Allan Poe wrote many dark literary works by his descriptions of setting and topic. His use of imagery was great and made the reader feel as though they were actually in the chamber room with him. The chamber room reminded me of a dark, cold dungeon that had an empty feeling when you were inside one. When I read the first stanza, about the tapping at the chamber door, I thought there was going to be a person who was there to talk with the man and not a raven. I don’t understand why the man would listen to a raven and believe what the raven was saying when he knew ravens couldn't talk. It would be pretty funny to see a man sitting in the middle of a room conversing with a raven. I think the man could have fallen a sleep and his encounter with the raven could have been just a dream. I felt bad for the man in, “The Raven,” because he went through the pain of losing Lenore, and then he had to endure the raven telling him that he will never see her again. I believe that Poe wrote this poem in reference to his beloved wife Virginia. I think Poe was able to convey the emotions of the man so well because he had a real life experience to refer to.