“The Raven” is a poem that was published in 1845 by an American poet known as Edgar Allan Poe. It is among the most popular literal works crafted in the nineteenth century due to its musicality and stylized language. Although Poe had written other poems, The Raven catapulted him into a public figure due to its huge recognition even outside the American borders. In this regard, this study breaks down the poem and provides an analysis of the poem explaining its tone, mode, the speaker, location, and even a summary among other stylistic devices.
To begin with, the raven can be summarized as a poem that illustrates how individuals going through tough times behave and react to the situation at hand. The poem is jolted in a narrative tone where the speaker tells the story in the first persona form “…while I pondered, weak and weary” /1/. Another significant aspect is that the events happen very late in the night when the speaker is about to sleep as illustrated by the introductory part, “once upon a midnight dreary/1/… while I nodded, nearly napping /3/”The speaker has lost a loved one, Lenore, and he chooses to erode the memories by going through an old book, “forgotten lore.” Despite his efforts of reading an old book to distract himself, he kept on hearing an echo mentioning “Lenore” his lost love. Since it’s during the night, the speaker expects everything to be quiet and tranquil but the echo persists with a tapping at the door. This tempts him to go and check where or who is making these movements. Unfortunately, he cannot identify anything after opening the door just “darkness, nothing more.” Still the tapping persists but now it’s coming from the window lattice and when the speaker goes to open, “a Raven” swooshes inside and perches on the bust of Pallas. “Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling” this illustrates that the speaker was pleased by the presence of the bird and he continues to ask its name and it responds “nevermore.” At this point, it’s quite evident that the Raven is the only patronage to the grieving man and he is worried it would be gone by morning. However, it ends his doubts by telling him “nevermore.” The man asks the raven more questions and the answer remains the same, nevermore. Lastly, he asks whether “Lenore” will be back again and the response is still “nevermore.”
In order to understand this poem in depth, it is important to get the meaning of the integral words used in this poem. Firstly, the raven is a bird that is incapable of speaking and the writer, Poe, uses personification to give it the ability to utter words. It is a non-reasoning creature that acts as a central figure in this poem for its ability to deliver the message. The word “nevermore” has been chosen to show that what has already been done cannot be retracted; that is, the loss of Lenore cannot be changed. The bird illustrates a superstitious voice that intends to advice the speaker against mourning as the loss could not be withdrawn. Secondly, the bust of Pallas represents the Greek symbol that illustrated wisdom. Ideologically, this illustrates that the non-reasoning creature was speaking out of intelligence and it did not just utter meaningless words. Another symbolic figure used is the “forgotten lore” or the old book. This portrays how sad moments lead people into retrieving things that they had forgotten about. Low moments strikes memories that are meant to comfort the current situations or misery. Lastly, “nevermore” is a keyword that has been used repeatedly as a symbolic figure that intends to tell the reader that once a situation has occurred it does not resurface again, we are only left with memories.
The location or setting of this poem is in the house, probably the bedroom because the narrator is almost napping or the reading room as he was reading. The narrator’s name has not been revealed but the gender which shows he is a man. The timing of this narration is at midnight as mentioned earlier and it is on December. Coincidentally, both midnight and December signify the end of the day and year respectively. From the general overview of this poem, the loss of Lenore can be signified as the end of their love with the narrator. This shows the narrator can only turn a new page like the midnight will turn into a new day or December will usher in a new year. Significantly, there is constant use of stylistic devices in this poem. Alteration is among the most used device in order to put on emphasis, “while I nodded, nearly, napping…/3/.Repetition of words is conspicuous in order to put on emphasis on the context of the poem; for example, “…rapping, rapping at my chamber door /4/.”There is the use of rhyme in order to achieve musicality with words like remember, December, ember, morrow, and sorrow among others. Therefore, the raven is an interesting poem that is rich in literature devices and a strong message to the audience.