Guilt and regret are two emotions that have transcended time and have constantly been used as literary topics for countless years and countless works. Literature captures the essence of humanity and expresses it in ways that most cannot do, therefore we look to literature as a way to relate and guide us through whatever it is we are trying to deal with, whether it be positive or negative. In this essay I will be exploring Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Raven,” to demonstrate the expression of guilt and regret in the form of poetry using different poetic devices to do so. I will be analyzing the idea that the narrator of the poem is not just expressing sorrow over the loss of his “Lenore,” but also guilt stemming from his belief that he could have done more to save her, or in fact maybe even caused the death of his beloved Lenore.
Poe does a good job of separating the poem into two categories or sections, so to speak. One being the hopeful idea that he can get Lenore back or at least see her ghost and possibly reconcile with her so that he can live on happily. The other being the dark and dramatic tone of the poem that takes
overwhelming precedence after the first few stanzas. And the way Poe does that, obviously not having the use of images to aid him, anytime he is talking about Lenore or something positive, he uses positive imagery such as “the white bust of Pallas” to describe his beloved Lenore. What makes this poem more than just a horror story is the way that Poe uses his words and poetic skills to thrust the reader into the narrator’s mind and into his psyche so that you know not only his feelings, but his thoughts too. It is a deep poem on many levels and through the rest of this thesis I will prove that the narrator is responsible in some capacity for the death of Lenore.
The poem is written in a melancholic tone from the very beginning when Poe describes the night that he is visited by the raven as a