Analysis of the Raven by Edgar Allen Poe
The nineteenth century poet Edgar Allen Poe makes use of several literary devices in order to create a gloomy atmosphere in his poem “The Raven”. Alliteration, rhyme, onomatopoeia, assonance, and repetition are used to contribute to the melodic nature of the work and provide an almost “visual” representation of his gothic setting. Poe is a master of using these writing techniques. “The Raven” is one of his most popular works. This is certainly due, in part to his use of these literary devices in this piece. The poem tells of a narrator who is reading an old book in his parlor when he is interrupted by a knock at the door. The protagonist is in a period of grieving over the loss of his love, Lenore. At first, he wonders who the visitor might be and resolves to inform him or her that he is indisposed at the moment. The narrator finally opens the door only to find no one there. He returns to the chair (which Lenore will no longer occupy), only to hear the rapping again. He decides that the sound may be coming from the window, so he opens it. A raven enters through the window and lights upon a bust of a mythological figure that the narrator has in his room. The narrator questions the raven concerning its name, the bird answers “nevermore”. This startles the speaker, and he wonders aloud if the bird will leave him just as all of his friends seem to do. Again, he is answered by the raven “nevermore”. As the protagonist progressively becomes more and more upset with the situation, he decides that the raven must go. He even demands that the raven leave. The response “nevermore” is once again given by the bird, which refuses to go. The narrator finally concludes that his soul is inextricably tied to this foul beast and he is to be forever tormented by it. The melodic nature of the poem and its very gloomy tone is reinforced by Poe’s choice of words and the sound effects that they convey. By the use of rhyme, the poem is made to...
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