Human Obsession and Insanity
Human obsession is a major part in Edgar Allan Poe’s works. In “The Raven,” the obsessions are about a woman, Lenore, and death. The character’s obsession with Lenore and death are illustrated with the use of drugs and also with insanity. The obsession with Lenore also leads to the insanity of the narrator.
In Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven,” the narrating character is obsessed about his past love that he is “weak and weary” (Poe 1). “From my books surcease of sorrow – sorrow for the lost Lenore.” (10) He cannot accept that she is gone, his “rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore.” (11) When the narrator hears a tapping at his chamber door, he believes at first it is Lenore. He feels a thrill and opens the door to emptiness. “And the only word there spoken was the whispered word, ‘Lenore?’ / This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the word, ‘Lenore!’ / Merely this and nothing more.” (28-30) When the raven is seen by the narrator he thinks it is a sign from his beloved Lenore. The narrator’s insanity leads him to believe that the raven is a sign that maybe Lenore is not gone. His obsession with the loss of Lenore makes him imagine that the raven is actually saying “nevermore.” As the night goes on, all the raven says is “nevermore.” The narrator tries asking the raven questions but always gets the same response, “nevermore.” As this continues, he becomes agitated and angry at the raven for not giving him the answers he seeks. The narrator tortures himself by continuing to ask the raven questions when he knows the answer will always be the same. The raven was supposed to bring him hope about Lenore but it is driving him further into insanity. The raven, in his mind, reminds him that Lenore is really gone. Since he is obsessed with her and does not want to believe she is gone, he tries to make the raven go away. “Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my door!” (101) In his...
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