“The Raven” by Edgar Allan Poe is an interesting poem that captures the mind of the reader while engaging his intellect in the analyzing of the plot of its dark and haunting narration. The poem spots the use of musical styles and adorns macabre imagery that curves out its niche into popular culture. The story tells of a man who is attempting to get through his “sorrow for the lost Lenore,” He does so by capturing and engaging his thoughts with past scripts of “forgotten lore” (Poe 1). However, his attempts are short lived as his thoughts are disrupted by a “tapping on [his] chamber door” (Poe 3).
The poem was approached from a mathematical problem point of view. This is a contrast to the approach adopted by other poets who claim to write poems “by a species of fine frenzy – an ecstatic intuition – and would positively shudder at letting the public take a peep behind the scenes” (Poe 4). The exact approach that the poet used in order to come up with the entire poem is debatable. A poem is not supposed to be ambiguous and should have one dominant theme and about one hundred lines. This is the same as the poem as we find that the poem has one hundred and eight lines and expresses one effect throughout the literary work of art.
This makes it easier for a reader to follow through the plot and enables one to go through the entire poem in a single sitting. The most intriguing aspect of the poem is that it seems to be written backwards. Through this approach, the single effect of the poem is the first to be realized in the initial stages of jotting the literary work. This is followed by the setting of the entire plot and the sequence rewinds from the initial effect. The style satisfies the general law that dictates that any plot must be detailed to its entirety before any attempt to put it down on a piece of paper.
The poem was in every essence appreciated universally by both the public and the emotional critics. This is backed by the adoption of a single theme in the entire plot. The entire literary work is based upon the theme of beauty. The poet chooses poignancy as an aspect of beauty to highlight the essence of beauty. He quotes in his essay to the poem that “Beauty of whatever kind in its supreme development invariably excites the sensitive soul to tears. Melancholy is thus the most legitimate of all the poetical tones” (Poe 5).
The poet chose the issue of death as a segment to the various melancholy topics. Death is universally realized and captures the minds of persons the world over. The mentioning of death captures the mind of the reader regardless of the background. The poet chooses the death of a beautiful woman as the best way to highlight the issue of death. This is with the idea that death is an intrinsic aspect of beauty. The poem spots interrogation with the raven in its third verse towards the last part. The rhythmical effect of this stanza was the most intimate in the entire poem. The poet seems to have worked backwards with the repeated application of the word “nevermore” in several modalities and ensured that the constant use of the term did not bring about the effect of monotony or boredom (Quinn and Shawn 324).
The poem evokes tension from the reader and this tension is heightened as one continues to read on through the play. The tension built through the stanzas is raised to a climax after which it is brought down suddenly. This is after the reader realizes that the poem does not hold any ethics to the raven’s “nevermore”. The symbol for the raven is artistically symbolized as the poet’s “Mournful and never-ending remembrance.” “And my soul from out that shadow, that lies floating on the floor, shall be lifted – nevermore!” (Poe 3).
Symbols are used through the poem to capture the mind of the reader and to highlight on the themes in the literary work of art. Several symbols are highlighted in the literary work of art that ends up putting the poem in a class of its own. The symbol that stands out the most throughout the poem is the “raven”. The poet uses a non-reasoning creature to utter the catch phrase depicted as “nevermore”. This catchphrase is repeatedly used throughout the poem effectively by the artistic use of the raven to utter it.
The raven is used in place of a normal person as a normal person has the ability to rationalize the issue at hand and can be able to come up with a possible solution or answer. This helps to bring out the self-torture that the narrator is taking himself through. From the essay to his poem, we realize that the poet had considered using a parrot in the same way or place of the raven. This idea however, was dropped and the raven chosen due to its significance in bad omens. Ravens are known to symbolize evil or darkness and thus best illustrate the melancholy tone that is evident in the poem. The bird best brings out the general mood that is intended for the poem.
Another symbol that can be easily identified from the poem is the bust of Pallas. The reader is forced to reason out the rationale behind the raven’s decision to settle on the goddess of wisdom. This is not by sheer coincidence and can be said that the perching of the raven on this place depicted that its utterances were of pure wisdom. The bust of Pallas can also be used to depict the intellectual ability of the narrator. The use of the words “midnight” and “December” in the literary work could also be taken as symbols. This is because both are considered to depict the closing stages. Midnight refers to the end of a day and December refers to the last month in a lunar year. Several interpretations to the use of this indicate that the narrator could use this to indicate the death of his mother, which is known to have happened around this time. Another use of symbols in the literary work is the “chamber”. This is the place where the narrator is situated. The use of this symbol could imply the general feeling of the narrator. The loss of Lenore brings about deep feelings of sadness. The chamber helps to highlight the effect of the beauty in the poem through its descriptive narration as a gorgeously furnished room. It causes the narrator to reflect on the sad loss of Lenore (Silverman 493).
Poe, Edgar. The Philosophy of Composition. Philadelphia: G.R. Graham, 1846. Print.
Quinn, Arthur and Shawn Rosenheim. Edgar Allan Poe, A Critical Biography. Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press, 1998. Print.
Silverman, Kenneth. Edgar A. Poe, Mournful and Never-ending Remembrance. New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1992. Print.