Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Poetry: Edgar Allen Poe 'The Raven'

The Raven by Edgar Allen Poe
Title: The title The Raven, is a direct mention of the Raven Poe ‘encounters’ in the poem, the raven, a bird that was often associated with tragedy, sorrow, and death in Poe’s time on Earth, it personifies the three main emotions the poem has Poe experiencing.  The tragedy of his love ‘Lenore’s’ death, the sorrow that followed her death, and the feeling finality of her death brought to him.
Paraphrase:  ‘Eagerly I wished the marrow;- vainly I had sought to borrow From my books surcease of sorrow- sorrow for the lost Lenore- For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore- Nameless here for evermore’
This passage is the most overlooked passage in all of Poe’s writing, if you do not understand it, as most overlook it, you don’t get the true meaning of the poem.  The first sentence ‘Eagerly I wished the marrow’ is plainly stating that on this dark night, he is wishing for the morning.  ‘Vainly I had sought to borrow, From my books Surcease of sorrow- sorrow for the lost Lenore’ This statement implies that no matter what he has done to distract himself, and seek a reprieve from his sorrow for losing his love, nothing has succeeded, as she is still fresh in his mind. The final sentence ‘For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore- Nameless here for evermore’ show just how he saw her, a woman, so beautiful, so rare, a name given by the angels of heaven themselves, is gone now, and will be forgotten forever. 
‘And the silken, sad, uncertain rustling of each purple curtain Thrilled me- filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before’ So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating “ ;Tis some visiter entreating entrance at my my chamber door;- This it is and nothing more’
Not actually speaking of a real visitor, which could be hinted from his purposeful misspelling of the word, but of the Raven at his door, or the realization and epiphany that will lead him yet farther from his Lenore, so he passes it off as a fleeting moment, an unwanted intruder to his life, telling himself, that’s all it is, nothing more.
‘On the marrow he will leave me, as my Hopes have flown before.” Then the bird said “Nevermore”.’
This is one of the most important sentences in the poem, notice how he capitalizes Hopes, like you would capitalize the name of a person, this is connecting back to his love Lenore, who was died in the night, flown away by morning you could say.  The Ravens repetition of ‘Nevermore’ does not allude to his own life or death as many believe but to the fact that he will never see Lenore again, feel her, hold her. 
To clear up I will explain what quoth means when in the play it repeats ‘Quoth the Raven, “Nevermore” quoth basically means ‘quotes’ it is used when a character is repeating one word or statement again and again without saying anything between repeats. Quoth is used in this poem because all the Raven says is Nevermore.
Poe uses Hopes to replace his love Lenore several times in the poem, reflecting how her and the love they had was the only thing keeping him moving on and feeling alive, without her he is hopeless to his dark mind as it shows him horrors in the night.
Darkness is used several times to describe the room he is in which in truth is simply the image he chooses to project his own mind as, and in that darkness there is fear, but still the fleeting feeling of his Lenore, so it offers both a curse to him, and a nostalgic peace, sitting in the lonely cold dark.
 In The Raven Poe can be described as being hopeless, distressed, and slowly falling deeper into despair as he fights against the truth that he will feel his Lenore, to quoth the Raven, “Nevermore”
Roughly half way through the poem, after the Raven’s appearance, Poe moves from not just sulking in his own sorrow at his Lenore’s death, but to actively fighting against the truth that the Raven speaks with but one word ‘Nevermore’ he curses the bird, calling it a prophet of evil, he now openly refuses to accept its word, and the truth of Lenore’s death, and thus the Raven over his chamber door refuses to leave, for ever more.
Title Revised: No new opinions
Theme: the darkness of our own mind after tragedies is often more comforting then the truth’s we are forced to accept.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for such a great analysis! The Raven is truly an amazing and inspiring work, which always makes me rethink its main idea. Great post!