Professor Gary Smith
Symbolism in “The Raven”
Edgar Allan Poe was highly criticized throughout his life whether it was for his high achievements or his downfalls; he always seemed to be talked about. Poe was born in January 19, 1809; his mother died shortly after being abandoned by his father leaving him and his brothers’ orphans at an early age. Poe was taken by John and Francis Allan. With the help of his foster parents he was later able to attend the University of Virginia where he studied French, Spanish, Italian, and Latin, and had an excellent scholastic record. He soon was not able to pay for tuition and started gambling and drinking. His foster father would not pay his “debts of honors” therefore; he could no longer stay so he fled to Boston, his birth place. In Boston his writing career began. He first published an anonymous book of poems which he titled Tamerlane and Other Poems the credit was given to a Bostonian. In 1836 he married his cousin Virginia Clemm. His wife suffered from tuberculosis a disease that was killing her slowly. This affected Poe’s writing for all his poems and short stories were of death and hopelessness. During this time Poe continued to write it wasn’t until 1845 that Edgar wrote “The Raven” one of his most successful poems yet. Edgar Allan Poe’s life had been tough and his work demonstrated his struggle. He always wrote about darkness and mysteries. “The Raven” is a poem of death, despair, and self-loathing that a person endures after a loved one is lost. By the audience obtaining personal background information on Poe it helps understand his technique in his writings. Edgar Allan Poe skillfully uses symbolism in The Raven such as in the raven itself, the chamber, and the bust of Pallas (Goddess of Wisdom) to masterly get his thoughts across without the necessity of writing them.
Poe uses symbolism in the raven itself to give his audience a sense of darkness. A raven is a big...