Short Analysis for "The Raven" and “What Troubled Poe’s Raven”

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“The Raven”

I feel the title suggests that the poem might entail a story about a raven. Ravens are often associated with death, due to their dark, eerie features, as well as with trickery, thus the title clues that the story will most likely be shadier. The speaker of the poem is a man who is troubled by the memories of his lost love, Lenore, and of his impending death. “And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor shall be lifted—nevermore!” (106, 107) indicates the speaker knows he has the possibility of dying soon. The line, “Quaff, oh quaff this kind repenthe and forget this lost Lenore!” (81), shows that the speaker is having great difficulty letting go of Lenore and may be even guilty over her death- as he is almost asking for forgiveness (“this kind repenthe”). A raven keeps reminding him that his time on Earth will be short. “Take that beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my door!” (99, 100) explains that the bird won’t leave the speaker’s soul alone (“beak from out my heart”) and he just want him to go away. In the beginning of the poem, the speaker feels as if he is just able to control his emotions, trying to forget about Lenore: “vainly I had sought to borrow from my books surcease of sorrow—sorrow for the lost Lenore.” (9, 10). He also doubts where he will go to in the afterlife. Using contrasts between heaven (“Aidenn”[92], “Seraphim” [79]) and hell(“Plutonian shore”[47], “the Raven”) and mentioning he is “Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared dream before.” (26) hints on his uncertainty over his life in the future. Yet toward the end, a much more agitated feeling is sensed: he begins to shout (“thing of evil!” [90]) and uses shorter vowels, such as “flitting”, “sitting”, “still” and “devil”. The overall tone of the poem is of gloom and bitterness. Words such as “grim”, “bleak”, “melancholy” and “beak from out my heart” help create this quality for the readers. The author uses a mix of figurative, “each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor” (8), and literal language, “open here, I flung the shutter” (37) in this poem. I feel Edgar Allan Poe wrote the poem in formal style, as he used a lot of traditional English text and a more complex vocabulary. Furthermore, the poem includes mostly visual (“cushion’s velvet lining”[75], “each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor” [7]) and sound imagery (“rapping/ tapping at my chamber door”[5], “foot-falls tinkled”[79], “echo murmured”[29]). “The Raven” is composed of 18 stanzas, with about 6 lines each. Individual stanzas hold a regular end rhyme scheme of ‘abcbbb’, however internal rhymes continue throughout the lines- both one and two syllable rhymes. For example: “I remember it was a Bleak December” (7), “ungainly fowl to hear discourse so plainly” (49), and “then he uttered—not a feather then he fluttered—till I scarcely more than muttered” (57, 58). The rhythm is regularly trochaic octametre, where there are about 8 beats per line. The author breaks up the lines where there is a pause in the thought, using a lot of double hyphens to carry out the meaning of the stanza. At the end of each stanza, there is an indented line that usually involves the word “nevermore”: “With such a name as Nevermore. ”(54), “Of ‘Never—nevermore.’” (65). After analyzing the poem carefully, I feel the theme is ‘thoughts can be provoked by external reminders’. Constantly, ‘the Raven’ haunts the speaker of the poem; the creature reminds him of his lost love Lenore and the world of the dead. “’Wretch,’ I cried, ‘thy God hath lent thee—by these angels he hath sent thee Respite—respite and repenthe from thy memories of Lenore; Quaff, oh quaff this kind repenthe and forget this lost Lenore!’ Quoth the Raven ‘Nevermore.’” (79-83) Here, the speaker is desperately trying to understand why the bird was following him, assuming his presence was due to Lenore [reminder of Lenore]. But later he calls the bird “’Prophet!’ said...
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