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Poetry is the work of a poet according to “Microsoft Encarta Dictionary.” Poetry to Edgar Allan Poe is more than just the work of a poet. It is the understanding of the work and critically analyzing each line of a poem. The poet wants their reader to be able to pick out the important rules each line takes in their particular poem. The reader must comprehend and grasp the meaning of what they are trying to prove. A good poet puts a good challenge into the reader’s mind. Making a reader do some serious critically thinking on the point the poet is trying to make is one of the most rewarding goal for a poet such as Poe. I want to prove the symbols of the incredible flow of art and the symbols of melancholy ideas that make up “The Raven” by Edgar Allan Poe.

Poe wrote “The Raven” in the mid 1800’s. It is a mysterious poem that is among “the best-known poems in the national literature” (Brent 6). This work is owed much to its Romanticism and the evilness it progresses. It comes from the thoughts he had in some of his sick-minded dreams. Poe’s idealism, his musical gift, and his dramatic art as a storyteller secured him a prominent place among universally known men of honors. Poe’s character comes from the fact of a strange duality. The wide difference of judgments on the man seems almost to point to the coexistence of two persons in him. With those he loved, he was a gentle and devoted man. Those he didn’t like, especially the one’s who were the real critics of his criticism, he chose to ignore. They came irritable and self-centered to him and accused him of lack of principle. There were two different men in Poe. There was the man of terror and dark crimes, then there was the


man of loyalty and devotion.

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Edgar Allan Poe is separated by these two personalities in his work of “The Raven.” The raven in the poem symbolizes evil in the poem. The raven is not picked up as evil right away however. The raven comes off as a sign of peace. The narrator is curious and distraught of why the bird sits at the foot of his door. The narrator asks the raven to tell him what the lordly name is on the Night’s Plutonian shore. The raven says, “Nevermore.” The narrator asks several times, but the raven’s only reply is “nevermore.” The narrator starts to lose his patience with the raven, and is very eager to know why the raven comes. The raven sits alone and says “Nevermore.” The raven spoke only this word getting the narrator to believe the raven had been at a burden bore. The same chorus the raven sung over and over again, “nevermore.” The raven, “never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door; And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon’s that is dreaming, And the lamp-light o’er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor; And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor Shall be lifted � nevermore!” (The Raven .) The raven becomes evil as it refuses to answer the narrator’s questions in full. The raven quoting “nevermore”, becomes the devil in the bird. The narrator is full of anger and loneliness, which makes him become evil.

Poe’s writing of the narrator’s personality in the beginning of “The Raven” is found to be at peace with him. The narrator is reading a book alone next to a fire, attempting to be at peace. He is fighting to dull the pain of his lost Lenore by reading the book. It seems he has found peace in reading the book until he hears the tapping at his


chamber door. This distracts the narrator from finding peace with himself by being curious of what the “rapping at his chamber door” is. The narrator believes the raven has brought him news of his long lost Lenore. He is so deep in thought about her; he wants to believe this raven has come to send him a message. He loses this peace he was trying to bring upon, and questions the raven of his presence. His personality changes when he learns the raven has only one disturbing phrase to say.

The personalities combined and the grieving of the narrator relate back to Poe’s life. Poe had always been mysterious and more to himself in his life. He had split personalities. Poe uses a simile in which he is comparing Lenore in “The Raven” to a real life lost loved one in his life. Poe writes with devilish, lonesome, and grieving thoughts throughout the whole poem of “The Raven.”

Poe uses auditory imagery. For example, he writes in “The Raven,” “gently rapping, rapping.” The rhythm produced with the repetition of “rapping” produces an imagined sound of a knock at the chamber door with each syllable. Visual imagery is provided when the narrator tells of “each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor.” The word choice adds the atmosphere by providing an image of light colors and movement from the floating embers as they die, leaving ashes on the floor. The gain of confusing reactions of the narrator to the developing vision in his chamber show that the rustling of his curtains, things he imagines when peering out of his door. Ultimately, the narrator’s attitude is revealed when he states, “tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night’s Plutonian shore” (The Raven )! Using the name of the Lord to describe the

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devilish of the night shows that the narrator feels as though he is a follower of the heaven’s above.

Poe uses an unusual rhyming style on “The Raven”. A few instances occur for example when Poe writes on lines to 10, “vainly I had tried to borrow/ From my books surcease of sorrow,” or lines 51 to 5, “For we cannot help agreeing that no sublunary being/ Ever yet was blessed with seeing bird above his chamber door.” Poe has some slight changes from a gathering of these words, only for the purpose of proper rhyme scheme. The rearrangement of words does not take away the quality of the writing, especially with the well worked rhyming. The first line of the poem, for example, has a slight variation of sentence structure, written as “Once upon a midnight dreary” (The Raven 1), instead of something like “Once upon a dreary midnight.” It does not have a negative effect however. The unusual rhyming style of The Raven sets the poem on a different level than classical poetry. “Melody, measure, and sound no longer arises from alliteration alone, but instead from the studious use of similar sounds in unusual places” (Brent .) Words such as ember, terror, sorrow, darkness, and mystery create a dark atmosphere, and the narrator’s level of distraught.

“The Raven” is so well known because of the uniqueness and the flow of the poem. The rhythm is unreal and the word choice to fit in is incredible. “The Raven” is one hundred and eight lines long. It is written in a trochaic octameter, therefore having 16 syllables per line, less the last line of each stanza, which is trochaic, but having only seven lines. Poe has only seven syllables in these lines to place emphasis on “more,” the last sound of each stanza, ending each stanza with a strong syllable and producing a

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parallel structure. The rhyme scheme takes form as AA/B/CC/CB/B/B. The first line of each stanza has internal rhyming, which rhymes inside the same line. For example, “And the silken sad uncertain (A) rustling of each purple curtain (A).” This line also has consonance with the “s” sounds, as well as assonance with the “ur” sounds. In addition, the line is onomatopoeic, that is, the “s” sounds provide an auditory stimulation similar to that of rustling cloth. Poe uses alliteration as well in his writing. For example, “doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before” (The Raven 1).

This form that Poe uses in his poem is a work of great art. It takes a lot of artistic talent to transform each line into its own flowing manor and rhythm.

The reader learns the proof of why this great literary art is so famous. The changes of attitudes and personalities of the narrator can be compared to the role of Edgar Allan Poe in his true life. The astonishing rhyme schemes and the way they flow are perhaps brilliant to those who follow and comprehend fully of the artistic masterpiece. This work may have a few representing symbols. It can be a symbol of loneliness, evil, death, lost-love, or it could be one great symbol of art. The art of this poem cannot be placed any better than it is. A Microsoft Encarta Dictionary put it best; poetry is the work of a poet. The reader knows that “The Raven” is more than just a work of a poet. Once the reader comprehends and fully understands the poem, they can compromise on why it has been issued as one of the greatest literary works ever written.

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