Edgar Allan Poe's "The Raven" is a dark reflection on lost love, death, and loss of hope. The poem examines the emotions of a young man who has lost his lover to death and who tries unsuccessfully to distract himself from his sadness through books. Books, however, prove to be of little help, as his night becomes a nightmare and his solitude is shattered by a single visitor, the raven. Through this poem, Poe uses symbolism, imagery and tone, as well as a variety of poetic elements to enforce his theme of sadness and death of the one he loves.
Within the poem Poe divides the characters and imagery into two conflicting aspects of light and dark. Almost everything in the poem reflects one world or the other. For example, Lenore, who is repeatedly described as "radiant" epitomizes the world of light along with the angels she has joined. Another image of light would be the lamplight the character uses to light his chamber, his refuge from the darkness of the outside. However, The Raven, as well as the dreary December night shows signs of darkness. These images of light and darkness go even further to represent life and death, the man's hope of an afterlife with Lenore and his fear of everlasting loneliness.
The poem consists of an undeniable narrative structure. Told from the third person, Poe also uses symbolism to create a strong melancholy tone. For instance, both midnight and December symbolize an end of something and the hope of something new to happen. Another example is the chamber in which the narrator is placed; this is used to show the loneliness of the man.
Along with imagery and symbolism, Poe incorporates many poetic elements to express his feeling. These include assonance, alliteration, and rhyme. Assonance is the repetition of vowel sounds. For example "For the race and radiant maiden, whom the angels name Lenore." This repeats the vowel sound of "a". Poe also used a lot of alliteration. For example, "Doubting... [continues]
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