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Quoth the Raven, “The Acceptance of Change is the Key to Freedom”
“The Raven” by Edgar Allan Poe is about a grieving man who is visited by a strange Raven who can only say the word “nevermore”. Believing the Raven to be some sort of prophet, he asks him a series of questions, which the Raven may only reply with “nevermore”. The man continues to ask the questions, and becomes more and more distraught with each one, until he ultimately decides that he will be mournful for eternity, which leads us into the theme of the poem: if you dwell on their grief for too long will be the cause of their own anguish. Poe primarily uses dialogue, rhythm, and repetition to communicate the theme to the readers. The poem is from the first person perspective, making the man the narrator. It is through his inner dialogues and his conversation with the Raven that we get the bulk of the poem. The progression of the poem is portrayed through the dialogue, with the beginnings of the conversation between the man and the Raven being more civil, to them ending in complete hysterics. The strong shift as the man develops new thoughts on the Raven (at first he is of the Raven is a prophet, but his mind as changed to it being a ‘wretch’ and a ‘thing of evil’) is communicated by the poet almost completely through the dialogue. The ending, and the revelation of the theme, is shown through the thoughts of the man, an inner dialogue. The rhythm of the poem is in trochaic octometer, meaning the syllables are in the following pattern: “stressed, unstressed, stressed, unstressed…” The second and third last lines of each stanza rhyme every time, and sometimes repetition is employed, communicating the importance of certain elements; the word “Lenore” is used as the last word in the second and third last lines of the second stanza, for instance. After the Raven appears, the last line of each stanza ends with “more” (“nothing...
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