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Research Paper Critical Analysis
The poem “Raven” by Edgar Allan Poe is written is a historic period known as romanticism. Most poets were tired about writing on issues affecting nature and the authority and so they entered the era of romanticism where beauty was appreciated and seen as a great thing that nothing else would be compared with. This was when most poets got in touch with their personal feelings and emotions to show the value of love and the beauty of nature. The literature entailed the use of intuition and imagination to bring out the effect of love and beauty. The element of gothic is also brought about by the writer in the effort of creating uneasiness. This element employs the use of supernatural beings to bring about fear in the reader. When Edgar began to write the poem, his wife Virginia was very ill and he feared that he would loose her. His emotions at the moment are revealed in his poem where the speaker is sad because he had lost his lover Lenore. The aim of this critical analysis is to support the statement “the raven brought more destruction as compared to knowledge by making leading the persona from sadness to despair”.
Raven has always been seen by many communities as a bird that signifies bad omen and often brings either death or diseases. The symbol of the bird is ironic to what many people believe it implies. In the poem it acts as a symbol of hope for the writer because when he says the bird, his mood changed from that of sadness to that of amusement. However, towards the ending of the poem, the writer is sad and says that he has lost all hope because he was expecting to get answers about Lenore. He also lost hope because he knew that the bird would leave just like all his friends had left him. As explored by Frank, he was hoping to get some answers from raven because it is believed that besides being a bird that brings with it bad luck, it is also termed as a bird that has both knowledge and wisdom (7). By choosing this as a title, Edgar leaves the person who reads the poem curious as to whether the bird will bring hope or destruction. The poem moves from sadness to despair.
The writer of the poem is expressing a mood of sorrow at the start. This is evident because he is lying in a bed at mid-night incapable of sleeping. The persona according to Pennell is awake at mid-night an hour associated with the end of life (48) So as to forget his sorrows; he is reading a book where in it is written ancient stories. He is sad because he is grieving the loss of a lady called Lenore. He lay there on the bed tormented by her memory trying to find anything that would take his mind off. Though it was late at night and he was napping as he read the book the memory of Lenore could not be erased from his mind.
As he was reading, he hears a tapping on the door. For a moment he was very scared and even thought it was Lenore. He ignored the tapping and later heard it again. He is scared because it was a bleak December and mostly the place is disserted because it is the start of winter. According to Pennell the fact that the season was the beginning of winter that acts as the end of life emphasizes the mood of the persona during this time (48). The writer has a mentality that the knock is supernatural though he tries to look for a rational explanation for the knock. When he unlocked the door, there was nobody standing there. He was shaken and staring at the dark and nothing more. He started thinking about Lenore wishing it was her tapping at her chamber door. He was having dreams that no man alive could have the courage to dream. He stood there in stillness calling out Lenore’s name and getting an echo in return.
Discouraged and his hopes of finding Lenore at the door to his chamber shattered, he goes back into his chamber. The chamber could be used to signify the inside of the soul of the writer. The mood in his chamber was gloomy with dim lighting to signify his sorrow mood due to the death of Lenore. Soon after there is a sound of another tap, but this time at the window lattice and more loud than the one before. He was scared, but felt that this was a mystery he had to explore. He consoles himself that it could be the wind and nothing more. When he opened the window, he saw a Raven flew in and perched above the chamber door on a Pallas who according to the Greek is the goddess of wisdom. This according to Frank could symbolise that the bird is not there for destruction, but for bringing wisdom to the tormented man (11).
The Raven was perching and staring at him saying nothing more. The fact that earlier he was reading ancient stories that would definitely talk about raven as a bird that brought either destruction or knowledge and wisdom could be why he changed his mood because he sees the bird as a symbol of hope. According to Schlegel, there was nothing special about .............
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