Edgar Allan Poe
Poe’s life and how it influenced his work Research Paper
Born in 1809 in Boston, Massachusetts, Edgar Allen Poe was indeed one of the establishers of fictional mystery writing. He is considered the adherent founder of detective story writing, a leading designer of the science fiction genre and also the master in macabre anecdotes.
In his halcyon days, he was critically acclaimed as one of the top brass poets to hail his generation and though an American by birth, his reputation was colossal away from home in England and France. It is only after the legislative body of the Lovecraft school and French-influenced writers like Robert W. Chambers publicized his work, that America took interest of this prose intellect.
Edgar Allan Poe together with two of his siblings, were born into a family headed by parents who were peripatetic actors. After their father’s desertion and their mother’s demise due to consumption- now known as tuberculosis in 1811, a Richmond businessman John Allan together with his wife Frances Allan took up the responsibility of caring for the then young Edgar.
Though they never formally adopted him, they gave him the name ‘Allen’ and had him baptized in 1812. In 1815, the family travelled to John Allen’s birthplace in, Irvine Scotland where Poe attended grammar school and while there, puzzled his teacher by reciting passages of English poetry and writing what was considered genuine poetry. He was later enrolled into the Reverend John Bransby’s Manor House School at Stoke Newington, which later became the setting for his story ‘William Wilson’. (Benton 56).
The families moved back to Virginia in 1820 and in 1826, Poe become engaged to Sarah Elmira Royster while attending one-year language classes in the University of Virginia in 1826-1827. During his time there, Poe’s engagement to Royster was broken off by her family and he also became estranged from his foster father after he refused to cater for Poe’s gambling debts (Benton 18).
While there he composed some tales, however his novice works were not recognized and little is known of them. Poe dropped out of the university after a year and traveled to Boston in April 1827, supporting himself with unusual jobs such as a clerk and newspaper writer under the pseudonym Henri Le Rennet (Krainik 6).
Poe went to live at his aunt Clemm’s Baltimore home in 1831after 3 years in the military, and shortly afterwards published Poems by Edgar Allan Poe and also started placing short stories in magazines, one of which titled “MS. Found in a Bottle,” won him a $50 prize in1833. In 1836 Poe married his 13-year-old cousin Virginia Clemm, daughter to his aunt Mrs. Maria Clemm (Weekes 124).
This became a turning point in his life for he begun a career as a writer in the Southern Literary Messenger (Krainik 12). In 1837, he lost his job due to excessive drinking and he moved to New York, where he published “The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym” in 1838. This led him to Philadelphia, where he worked as coeditor of the Burton’s Gentleman’s Magazine, giving some of his best fiction like “The Fall of the House of Usher.”
In 1840, he published “Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque”, which turned out to be quite popular due to its gothic essence and with him in the limelight. Poe left for the fictional editorship job offered by “Graham’s Magazine” in 1841 but left a year later.
1843 saw him publish “The Murders in the Rue Morgue, The Man That Was Used Up and The Gold Bug”, for which he received a $100 prize for, from a Philadelphia newspaper (Ostrom 33). In 1844, Poe got a job in the “New York Mirror”, which he held onto until 1845 publishing the famous poem “The Raven”, until he switched to the editorship job offered by the Broadway Journal, where he published two volumes of “The Raven and Other Poems and Tales”.
Edgar Allen Poe was among the first writers who attempted to make a living out of writing albeit all the hardships he experienced. The Raven was published in 1845 while Poe was still writing for the New York Mirror.
The narrator is tired and weak but still awake in the wee hours of morning reading an ancient book of knowledge. Just when he is about to fall asleep, he is startled by the sound of what he assumes is a visitor knocking. He opens the door to find no one there and starts having disturbing thoughts only for the word Lenore to pass through his mind. He goes back to bed only to hear a louder noise, this time from his room’s window.
He opens the shatters only for a raven to fly in. the raven is rather scruffy in appearance but its presence brings some comical relief to the narrator. He feels privileged to have such a creature in his room and the fact that the raven answers his question of what its name is with the word “Nevermore”, adds to his excitement. He concludes that the raven must have been owned by a disaster prone master, who used the words “nevermore” so often that the raven had them etched into its soul.
Now occupied with the raven, he senses the air has became denser and can smell perfume aroma that makes him think the raven could be Lenore. He suspects the bird is a prophet but accuses it of being evil, but nevertheless a prophet. He begs God to bequeath him with Lenore, but the raven replies “nevermore”. He gets irked by this and chases the bird away but the raven is unshaken and now assumes a kind of demonic demeanor as the narrators hopes are crushed by the raven.
The Raven was non-didactic poem that has numerous occurrences of alliteration, internal rhyme, repetition, imagery, refrain and hints of onomatopoeia. Written in narrative speech, it begins on a rather depressing note; with the narrator “weak” and “weary”. Alliteration is used here to stress the disposition of Edgar Allen Poe as he wrote this poem.
This was at a time when his wife was unsound from a ruptured blood vessel and had contacted tuberculosis. He is yearning for companionship and more so love and going to open the door in the dead of night to show his desperation. His fixation on Lenore is metaphorical thus Lenore is seemingly the ideal woman he has in mind. The poem is reflective of Poe himself who appears to have sought solace in the Bible during hard times as depicted in referring to it as an ancient book of knowledge.
The alleged knock on the door might have been used to identify with his first love Sarah Elmira Royster, to whom he was engaged to while in the University of Virginia in 1826. He reasons that his engagement was rushed and it is symbolized in the poem by the narrator gathering courage and going to open the door at night expecting a visitor at the sound that is obviously not a knock.
The sound itself could be the urgency in which he felt in finding love and the darkness depicting his “blindness” to love at the time. Opening the door and finding no one might mean the desolation he felt when he lost touch with his first love Royster, whom he later realized was married after he dropped out from the University of Virginia in 1827 and hence the whispered word, “Lenore?” meaning where is my ideal woman? (Weekes 22).
In my opinion, the raven is used here to depict his dying wife Virginia Clemm due to a few reasons. First is the loudness of the tapping of the window lattice, which might have been used to describe his exigency to find his ideal woman, Lenore.
The raven flying in through the window could have been used to represent their unconventional form of marriage, taking into account that Virginia was in fact his cousin. Secondly, he smells perfume in the dense air when engaging the raven, the perfume depicting impressions of love he might have been feeling for her.
He later vehement denies the thought that the raven could be Lenore, meaning his affection for his wife was superficial and their union only of convenience. Thirdly, Virginia was a lot younger than him and was still in her teens when he married her. His metaphorical use of a raven that spoke could have been used to mean how limited he thought her intelligence was and how he further thought she had a negative attitude portrayed in the word “nevermore”.
This attitude might have been instilled by her mother who he refers to as the raven’s master, because she most likely had a lot of predicaments through out her life. One is also inclined to think that Virginia mostly wore dark clothes and had shaved her head leading to the comparison with the raven, (Krainik 14).
His expression when the raven first enters his chamber is one of comical delight. He is amused by raven’s facade and adjusts himself on his velvet seat in order to engage the bird. He then discloses that he won’t be surprised when the raven leaves in the morning as other friend have done that before and his hopes have previously flown away. This is quite a powerful choice of words because it shows the disenchantment Poe had regarding lovers and hopes.
Prior to writing this poem, Poe had on several accounts lost his jobs in among others, the Southern Literary Messenger, Burton’s Gentleman’s Magazine and the military. He had also written several books, none of which was recognized. To add on to this, he had lost his first love and had been disowned by his foster father who could have left him a sizable inheritance, depicting a man who was accustomed to loosing.
None better support this than the questions he asks the raven, well knowing the answer will be “nevermore”; is there balm in Gilead? …, shall I clasp a sainted maiden whom the angels name Lenore? (Benton 56).
His attempt to chase away the raven to no avail seems to suggest that Poe had tried to part ways with his wife to no avail. The crow strategically perching above the chamber door seems to imply the wife was dominant or her family had influence over him.
The final stanza is of a particular interest because it seems to imply his wife’s condition had deteriorated and she was either semi-lucid or in a comatose state hence the connotation that the raven’s eyes looked like a demon that is dreaming. Poe ends this poem with the felling of exasperation and despondency trying to imply that there is a connection between him and the raven’s shadow.
The shadow could have meant the looming death of his wife. He could therefore have come to the conclusion that he will never have any real chance of finding love thus …” And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor shall be lifted — nevermore!”
Benton, Roberts. “Friends and Enemies: Women in the Life of Edgar Allan Poe”. Works of Poe. June 2 1999. Web.
Krainik, Cumins. “The Sir Moses Ezekiel Statue of Edgar Allan Poe”. Baltimore. April 2 2007.Web.
Ostrom, Johnson. “Poe’s Literary Labors and Rewards”. Poe’s Work. Feb 5 2001.Web.
Weekes, Krutz. “Poe’s Feminine Ideal”. Literature review. Nov 16 2003.Web.
The Cask of Amontillado Essay
The ‘Cask of Amontillado’ is a literary classic story, which can pass as an ordinary narrative piece of literature to the average ordinary reader. To readers with a critical eye however, the figurative speech, and the hyperbole contained in the story cannot go unnoticed.
Irony – Montresor, who is committed to punishing a perceived wrong, is also committed to carrying out a wrong without being punished for it. By his own admission, Montressor states that “a wrong is unredressed when retribution overtakes its redresser” (Poe 3).
As such, Montressor states that he would punish the person who inflicted him with injuries, because to him, the wrongs committed against him were worthy of punishment. Ironically, though, Montresor states that he would be avenging insults with death, since he perceived that as the ultimate revenge. Unfortunately, Fortunato seems not to have suffered the pain of dying, as Montresor would have liked.
Paradox – Montresor triggers a paradox by juxtaposing in the same sentence the phrase “punish with impunity,” two words that are ordinarily antithetical. As human nature would have it, people are often quicker to see weaknesses in other while ignoring their more apparent flaws. As such, Montresor finds his companion’s “transgression” worthy of the cruelest death, and believes that his cause is so right that he deserves to get away with it.
Sarcasm – In human speech, very few styles of expression are as cruel as sarcasm. Although in this case Fortunato is ignorant of the sarcasm, Montresor is nevertheless invoking it when he says, “my dear Fortunato, you are luckily met”’ (Poe 3). It is as if Montresor, if he were understood for his true intentions, were saying, ‘It is your ill-luck that you have met me today’.
It is often the cruelest hearts that fashion the most effective sarcasms: sarcasms so sharp-edged that they slice through their target audience’s ears without their ever getting to understand their full true meaning. The cruelty resident in Montresor’s dark mind is exhibited in his solitary musing: “I was so pleased to see him that I thought I never should have done wringing his hands” (Poe 3).
Oxymoron – Montresor engages in oxymoronic speech by describing the attendant’s abandonment of their duties at his palazzo as “making merry in honor of the time” (Poe 4). This was in direct disregard for his instructions to them not to leave the house at all while he is away.
Of course, there is the implication that he knew beforehand what they would do. By the attendants behaving just as he had anticipated, Montresor gets his perfect alibi. To protect themselves from the charge of absconding duty, they would swear that he had been on a journey and had not at all returned that whole day.
Hyperbole – There is a sense of this in Fortunato’s statement that he drinks to “the buried that repose around us” (Poe 5). Dead bodies may be immobile but as to whether they are at rest, is a matter of conjecture.
Poe’s tale can be interpreted as an allegory of the pain, death, and the senselessness of vengeance. To reflect all the three identified themes, Poe (knowingly or unknowingly) divided his story into three parts. In the first part, Monstresor is infuriated by what he perceives as an insult from Fortunato.
As a result, he vows to inflict vengeance on Fortunato. This part of the story symbolizes people’s desire to avenge for the wrongs committed against them, and to inflict pain on the people who wrong them. As reflected in the conclusion of Poe’s tale, while inflicting pain on a person may seem like the perfect vengeance, it does not fetch as much pleasure as the avenger would like to.
The tale also makes an attempt to convince readers that death, is not necessarily a painful or even bitter experience to those who are dead or dying. This is symbolized by what sounds like Fortunato’s laughter when he finally realizes his fate. Poe also hints at the emptiness of revenge through Montresor’s description of his feeling as “sick” soon as he realized he had just killed Fortunato.
The second part of Poe’s take is apparent when Montresor lures Fortunato underground, and gets him drunk. The third part of the tale on the other hand is reflected in the long journey that two take, only for Montresor to encourage Fortunato into reaching “the extremity of the niche” (Poe 7), where he found iron staples hindering his progress further into the crypt.
Here, Montresor chained Fortunato up, ready to avenge the perceived wrongs committed against him. His vengeance was only pleasurable for a short period, because Fortunato’s cry only lasted several minutes. At the end, Fortunato made fun of his tormentor, and upon his death Montresor admits that his “heart grew sick” (Poe 8).
Poe, Edgar Allan. The Cask of Amontillado. Feedbooks, n.d. Web.
Poe’s Favorite Subject Matter is Death Essay
Edgar Allan Poe seems fascinated with death. This is not an exaggerated statement judging from terms and imagery used in at least four of his popular works such as The Cask of Amontillado; The Black Cat; The Tell-Tale Heart; and The Masque of the Red Death. It can also be said that he is not only fascinated with death but he is also terrified by it.
This explains the way he writes about this subject, placing it front and center. He is not even content to write about it indirectly like murder, accidents or the demise from sickness he writes with a macabre theme of blood spewing, decapitated head, masked figures, psycho killers and terror greater than any horror story ever written. All of these can be understood if one will take a look at Poe’s personal life for it is filled with emotional pain, anger, and much death.
Acquainted with Death
In his entire life, Edgar Allan Poe was acquainted with death and also the various things usually associated with it such as disease, despair, and destruction of relationships, financial turmoil and the anguish of the soul. He had his first taste when he was barely two-and-a-half-years old, when his mother died.
It is not unusual for children to be orphaned at such a very young age but Poe had a rather unique experience because his mother died in a ramshackle house, that was poorly heated and where he and his brother and sister slept on the floor covered with nothing but straw (Sova, p.3). When Poe’s mother died the three children were with her and they were found huddling close to the dead body of their mother (Sova, p.3). Even at a young age it can be argued that the future writer was traumatized by that event.
The death of her mother was just the beginning. He also knew the pain of separation because the three children were adopted by different families. Poe went to the Allan family. John Allan and Frances Allan belonged to an affluent and influential family in Richmond Virginia. Aside from the love that he received from Frances Allan, Poe’s adoption to this family gave him the means to travel and to have access to some of the best education in the land.
However, his stepfather was cold and distant (Sova, p.4). He was also protective of his step-mother and angered all the more when he found out that John Allan was unfaithful to her (Sova, p.4). Their contentious relationship is the reason why Poe will die poor even though he was adopted into a rich family and had the opportunity to study in a university.
From his relationship with his step-father Poe’s anger was kindled and he also learned how to be a rebel, deserting the family to become a soldier. He also went to West Point and finally when he was dismissed from the military academy became a full time writer.
What happened to him during his younger years was a mere respite from death but afterwards he was reintroduced to the terror and pain that it brings. First of all his brother died young from tuberculosis and then his step-mother died from the same disease at the age of forty-four (Sova, p.5). But the most painful experience was yet to come.
The love of his life was his cousin named Virginia. After a blissful relationship and a string of successful literary pursuits Poe was happy with his life. But Virginia contracted tuberculosis and one day when she was playing the piano a blood vessel in her throat broke and she began spew blood from her mouth (Sova, p. 7).
After that Poe was never the same again and his mind and spirit was overburdened by the fact that he was so poor he could not “bring the great love of his life to an end in dignity and peace (Quinn & Rosenheim, p.524). It is now easy to understand where Poe’s unique style of writing came from.
Death in the letters
It is not simply about dying and even getting killed there is something else that separates his writing style from other writers. Poe emphasized brutality and the calculating manner in which the killer dispensed his prey. There is also the added element of a cat-and-mouse game wherein the killer tries to outsmart the police and to achieve the perfect crime.
Finally, there is that common ingredient, a deep-seated hatred or anger that cannot be explained. It comes from deep within the person but the author does not elaborate the reason why a man would murder a friend or a son would murder a father.
In The Cask of Amontillado the reader was acquainted with Montressor, a man who wanted to murder his friend Fortunato. No reason was given as to why Montressor wanted his friend dead.
Furthermore, Montressor was not only interested in murder, one of his primary goals was to kill and to hide the evidence of the crime, to hide the body so that no one would know that Fortunato died from the hands of an assassin. For that reason Montressor employed a ghoulish strategy that necessitates the slow and painful death by burying Fortunato alive in the wine cellar under his house.
It has to be pointed out that Poe was acutely aware of the dreadful effects of tuberculosis and perhaps his short stories tries to convey the feeling of suffocation. As Montressor and Fortunato journeyed deeper into the tunnels, the feeling of suffocation was being conveyed. Poe frequently used the idea of burying the person within the confines of the killer’s abode.
This can be seen in The Black Cat wherein the husband murdered his wife and proceeded to hide her by inserting her into a wall. The same thing can be said in The Tell-Tale Heart wherein the murderer hid the victim by burying him underneath the floor of his bedroom.
In The Black Cat there is reason to believe that when Poe wrote it he was thinking of his wife. The part where the husband accidentally killed her can be linked to the remorse he felt when Poe was unable to care and protect the love of his life from the ravages of tuberculosis. In The Tell-Tale Heart the author did not elaborate if the young man was the son to the old man.
It is a veiled reference to the fact that the John and Frances Allan took him in but he was not legally adopted. It can also be argued that in this story he vented his frustrations against his step-father.
Blood in the Letters
There is another common denominator in many of his writings aside from death, and calculating murderers. It is the presence of blood, a great deal of blood was always implied through his writing. For example in The Black Cat the husband thought about cutting the body of his wife into tiny pieces.
This means hacking or sawing and therefore the release of great amounts blood. In The Tell-Tale Heart the killer decided to chop of the head and limbs of the victim and although the killer was pleased to say that not a drop of blood can be seen inside the bedroom he then commented that the slicing and cutting were completed using the bathtub and immediately the image of a tub full of blood came to mind.
His use of blood as a visual tool to bring forth horror and terror was very much evident in The Masque of the Red Death. The color red symbolized blood and this imagery was used often throughout the course of the story. There was the “red death”, the “blood-colored panes” and “scarlet stains” that highlights the idea of blood.
The color red is everywhere in this story from beginning to end. Blood and death is present in his many works but none compares to The Masque of the Red Death. If one will recall his experience with tuberculosis then it is not difficult to understand why blood flowed freely in this story.
The image of Virginia with a ruptured blood vessel and thick red blood coming out her mouth would have been in the forefront of his mind when Poe wrote this classic. He was not contented to simply say that the victims of the “red death” vomited blood and resulted in a quick end to their lives, Poe wrote that blood came out of the victim’s pores.
This provided a vivid image of a person soaked in blood. It is an image not unlike what he saw when Poe desperately tried to save his Virginia amidst the squalor brought upon by his insistence to work full time as a writer (Quinn & Rosenheim, p.524). Poe’s life will end much the same way – in poverty and at a relatively young age.
A writer will always be affected by his circumstances and past experiences. This is never truer in the case of Edgar Allan Poe. There is a reason why death and blood figured prominently in his works.
His experience with tuberculosis and the way the patients waste away while spewing blood impacted his life greatly that it found its way into his writings. But aside from the painful memories, the other aspects of his life experiences gave him the brilliance and the depth to write as he did. This includes his stint in the army and time spent in the university as well as his travels abroad.
Poe, Edgar Allan. The Black Cat.
Poe, Edgar Allan. The Cask of Amontillado.
Poe, Edgar Allan. The Masque of the Red Death.
Poe, Edgar Allan. The Tell-Tale Heart.
Quinn, Arthur & Shawn Rosenheim. A Critical Biography of Edgar Allan Poe. MD: John Hopkins University Press, 1998.
Sova, Dawn. Critical Companion to Edgar Allan Poe. New York: Infobase Publishing, 2007.
A Perfect Place for a Perfect Crime: Creating the Impeccable Setting Essay
Mysterious and almost frightening, the stories of Edgar Allan Poe are filled with the air of tragedy. One of his unsurpassed specimens of a thriller, The Cask of Amontillado, creates a distressing impression of pain and sorrow spiced with the chilling legend of an awful crime. Although the writer’s descriptions of places and people are almost deprived of any emotions, Poe manages to create the perfect backdrop for the perfect crime, creating mystic atmosphere and leaving all to the imagination of the reader.
It must be admitted that with his unusual gift of depicting the most petrifying environment so that it immediately rises in front of the reader’s eyes, Poe creates the perfect setting in The Cask of Amontillado – with just a few strokes of his pen the author made the image of the gloomy cave as real as it can be. Each of the details which the two fellows encounter on their way contributes to the overall impression of the increasing fear.
The growing tension within Montresor’s soul is completely evident – it oozes out onto the pages of the book and becomes visible and palpable. To prove this, it is enough to compare his relatively calm remark” “I said to him – “My dear Fortunato, you are luckily met. How remarkably well you are looking to-day! But I have received a pipe of what passes for Amontillado, and I have my doubts”” (Poe) with these hectic words: “For a brief moment I hesitated — I trembled” (Poe).
In addition, the timing of the crime is quite important. It is not accidental that the crime takes place as the sun sets behind the horizon. A perfect example of Poe’s symbolism, this can mean several things. On the one hand, the sun setting behind the horizon can be associated with the sunset of Fortunato’s life.
On the other hand, the time setting in the story sets the right atmosphere and creates the mysterious murky environment, all shot through with something terrible to happen: “It was about dusk, one evening during the supreme madness of the carnival season, that I encountered my friend. He accosted me with excessive warmth, for he had been drinking much” (Poe).
Another piece of setting to consider in Poe’s story is the venue of the crime. Adding to the overall impression of the petrifying atmosphere, the cave also triggers claustrophobic associations, another detail which is common for a number of Poe’s works. Because of the closed space and the dark, morose shades of the cavern, the claustrophobic impression doubles and grips the reader: “At the most remote end of the crypt there appeared another less spacious.
Its walls had been lined with human remains piled to the vault overhead, in the fashion of the great catacombs of Paris” (Poe). Creating the air of hopelessness, Poe’s story literally sends shivers down the reader’s spine. A cadence of frightening details, the description makes the tension grow as the plot unwinds: ”Three sides of this interior crypt were still ornamented in this manner. From the fourth the bones had been thrown down, and lay promiscuously upon the earth, forming at one point a mound of some size”. (Poe)
Imagining the setting as if the cave was right in front of his/her eyes, the reader understands that discovering the corpse would be practically impossible, which makes this crime perfect indeed.
Thus, The Cask of Amontillado offers a perfect setting for a perfect crime. With help of tiny details that inflame readers’ imagination, Poe created an ideal setting for a classic thriller. Scary and intriguing, exciting and sad, The Cask of Amontillado is a real masterpiece. If a scheme for a perfect crime timed impeccably and planned flawlessly could exist, this would be Montresor’s terrifying and cruel plot.
Poe, E. A. The Cask of Amontillado. n.d. Literature.org. Web.
The Haunted Palace by Edgar Allan Poe Poetry Essay
The haunted palace by Edgar Allan Poe is a piece of literature that tells of a story in a number of short regular stanzas using a traditional style.
The Haunted Palace, tries to bring out a symbolic reference to human sanity, an allegory about the human mind. Poe tries to give a descriptive view to show how one can slowly begin to have ones own human sanity decaying away as he alludes to the decaying state of the palace.
One may compare the poem contents to the life experience of the writer. In his bibliography, after his father abandons his family and his mother dies, Edgar is raised in a wealthy family, but later falls out of the relationship he had with his guardian. He is seen as an intelligent man sometimes back “banners yellow, glorious, golden” (Poe 10) these are words that the poet uses to describe his perception about himself there before . As the poem goes on the sparkling glamorous experiences taking place in
“Banners yellow, glorious, golden,
On its roof did float and flow,
(This—all this—was in the olden Time long ago,)”
During old times, but towards the end of the poem the tone and experiences change. The interpretation of the poem, The Haunted Palace, can be used to depict Poe’s unstable state of mind as depression crippled his life. In the second last stanza he writes
But evil things, in robes of sorrow,
Assailed the monarch’s high estate.
let us mourn–for never morrow
Shall dawn upon him desolate!” These few lines basically depict the literary depression state of Poe’s mind which can be traced to a series of events and there is no hope of ever reviving his happy moments tomorrow.
Poe combines several styles to complete the poem. The main style used is imagery; he uses it to explain the figurative statements of certain aspects. The head is alluded to the palace, while all the evil spirits mentioned represent the thoughts of a human beings mind.
In the poem the poet writes “two luminous windows saw Spirits moving musically” in this statement its descriptive aspect does not really make sense for a palace to have only two windows it’s vividly representing the eyes of a human being. The sanity of a man is represented by spirits being able to move musically hence freely meaning he was then a sane man and in control of his life until evil spirits invaded the palace (head) and his mind become unstable.
He offers the allegory of the last stages of his sanity mind states as he slowly begins to become insane, he describes a wild insane laughter coming out of the door which depicts the mouth. The laughter described here can not be referenced from any kind of happiness but rather to a disturbing thought for he knows his condition is fast deteriorating and he was not going to be the same man as before
Through the pale door
A hideous throng rush out forever,
And laugh—but smile no more. Edgar also incorporates the use figurative speech where personification is a device that Poe uses in line four states “radiant palace-reared its head” meaning that the palace has much greater meaning.
The palace is given the human trait of the head which is the centre of human beings faculties of intellect, emotion and reasoning. More personification expressions include “a troop of echoes whose sweet duty was but to sing” the echoes describe the thoughts. These thoughts are organized and pleasant showing an individual is sane.
There are several ways one would interpret the writers work because of the several hidden aspects about the poem. The poem can also be depicting more than the sanity state of a human being to death.
In the beginning of the poem the descriptive phenomenon brings out the party feeling of a palace where evidently people are dancing and singing all of them having a wonderful time together with the king and his monarchy an illusion of some kind of a disease will not be able to get them is presently described because the palace is defined as the most safest haven until the evil spirits are able to invade the palace and soon every one dies the insane laughter can be used to represents the kings unaware of what to do he laughs perhaps because he aware that he is defeated by what he thought could not get him.
Metaphors have widely been used in the poem to hide the direct meaning of the words used. In an example, the author writes “And all with pearl and ruby glowing Was the fair palace door,” the pearl describes the teeth since pearl are white while the ruby represents the lips with is red nature that appears to be the same with the ruby and finally the door represents the mouth.. He also writes;
Through which came flowing, flowing, flowing,
And sparkling evermore,
A troop of Echoes, whose sweet duty
Was but to sing, In voices of surpassing beauty”, these words explain that there are beautiful thoughts representing a person in a sane mind state while “The wit and wisdom of their king” describes the fact that as the king made decisions he was in his right sense of mind and that he was cautious of what he was doing. Besides metaphors, the writer also used similes to make the poem interesting to the readers “While, like a ghastly rapid river./ Through the pale door / A hideous throng rush out forever”.
All these elements have been put together in the poem to bring out an effective idyllic atmosphere that represents how a sane mind can instantly become an unstable mind. The use of his words in the poem create the atmosphere described as nightmarish and evil words used to describe this feeling include “evil dim-remembered, desolate, robes of sorrow, entombed, ghastly discordant, mourn and hideous. Further interpretation of the poem involves a line by line interpretation. As
In the greenest of our valleys
By good angels tenanted,- good thoughts
Once a fair and stately palace— a stable state mind(head)
Radiant palace—reared its head.- head
In the monarch Thought’s dominion— stable reasoning with common sense
It stood there!
Never seraph spread a pinion
Over fabric half so fair!” – Hair on the head. These lines describe the wonderful and most pleasant experience when a person has a stable mind set (head),
“Banners yellow, glorious, golden, – hair
On its roof did float and flow, – on top of the head
(This—all this—was in the olden Time long ago,) here the poet describes his perception about himself there before.
“ And every gentle air that dallied,
In that sweet day,
Along the ramparts plumed and pallid, (15) describes the sparkling glamorous experiences of the author in the olden days
“A wingèd odor went away.” The odor is the smell that comes out of a human beings mouth “Wanderers in that happy valley,” are the people who are constantly seeing the king “Through two luminous windows” alludes to the eyes of the king, “saw spirits moving musically,
To a lute’s well-tunèd law, (20)” represents the sanity of a man
Round about a throne where, sitting
In state his glory well befitting, – stable mind
The ruler of the realm was seen. – the king
And all with pearl and ruby glowing – pearl describes the teeth while the ruby represents the lips
Was the fair palace door,” the mouth (25)
“Through which came flowing, flowing, flowing,
And sparkling evermore, -sounds and organized thoughts
A troop of Echoes, whose sweet duty;
Was but to sing,
In voices of surpassing beauty;
The wit and wisdom of their king” (30) these words explain that there are beautiful thoughts representing a person in a sane mind state.
“But evil things, in robes of sorrow, – destructive components causing disruption in the mind
Assailed the monarch’s high estate- The thoughts in the head
(Ah, let us mourn!—for never morrow (35)
Shall dawn upon him desolate!)
And round about his home the glory;
That blushed and bloomed,
Is but a dim-remembered story;
Of the old time entombed (40), represents the unstable state of a human’s mind as depression crippled his life by undeserving thoughts
And travellers, now, within that valley; – people around the person
Through the red-litten windows see – blood shot eyes
Vast forms, that move fantastically;
To a discordant melody; While, like a ghastly rapid rive;
Through the pale door – mouth
A hideous throng rush out forever;
And laugh—but smile no more (Poe 45). Offers the allegory of the last stages of his sanity mind states as he slowly begins to become insane
Poe, Allan E. The Haunted Palace. Nottingham: Nathan Brooks’ American Museum magazine, 1938. Print.
Edgar Allan Poe Research Paper
Edgar Allan Poe was an American short fiction writer who lived a life of afflictions and tragedies such as the claiming of his loved ones by tuberculosis, which then had no cure.
Tuberculosis killed many people. It speared neither his mother nor his wife. As Penguin Readers Teachers Support Program reckons, “he was one of the earliest writers to use the short story form to write many chilling horror stories in the romantic tradition” (1).
He is also widely acclaimed as the originator of detective story. Edgar Allan Poe attempted to live by just writing. However, he faced quite a lot of challenges since the proceeds raised from the works were quite less to afford a decent living coupled with acts of plagiarism.
Interpreting his literary works from the author’s context perhaps ardently reveals these challenges. Additionally, his works arguably, are profoundly inspired by his close people who succumbed mainly to tuberculosis. Consequently, his life experiences prompted him to create stories that conveyed certain themes.
The short story, X-ing a Paragraph, perhaps well portrays the Edgar Alan Poe concerns for acts of plagiarism and non-protection of written works by the Copy Right law; something that immensely impeded his success and subsequent publication of his works.
Penguin Readers Teachers Support Program notes that, in X-Ing a Paragraph “a stubborn Mr. Touch-and-Go Bullet-head…settles down to Alexander-the-great-o-nopolis, where he opens the Nopolis Teapot, a newspaper” (2).
Right from the very first article, he enormously attacks the editor of a local daily newspaper, namely John smith, criticizing over usage of the letter “O” in his publications. In an attempt to show Mr. Smith how skillful he is in writing, Mr. Bullet- head finds himself overusing the letter “O” again. Before he prints the article, Bob discovers that Os were widely missing in the boxes.
However, his boss directs him to print the article in some way. Unfortunately, as Penguin Readers Teachers Support Program puts it, “Following the printer’s tradition, he replaces all Os with Xs”…making the article unreadable, which leads the population to believe that there was something devilish in it” (2). The angry mob tries to find me Mr. Bullet-head. Unfortunately, he ends up to have vanished.
Arguably, the theme of X-ing a Paragraph reflects on the Edgar Alan Poe’s experience in his writing career life. Congruent with this argument, Penguin Readers Teachers Support Program lament, “although Edgar Alan Poe is known for his tales of horror and mystery, X-ing a Paragraph is a sharp satire on newspapers, their editors and gullibility of their readers” (3). This argument largely has some substance especially bearing in mind that Edgar Alan Poe’s work had faced hefty criticisms.
For instance, Neimeyer claims how an anonymous critic suggested that works were unsuitable for the then readers in that they were “below the average of newspaper trash… wild, unmeaning, pointless, aimless…without anything of elevated fancy or praiseworthy humor” (207). Other critics such as Alexandra’s weekly massager commended the author’s creativity and cute use of his power of imagination and incredible powerful level of intellectualism while developing his literary works.
Considering these two commentaries of his literary works, some, levels of mixed criticisms appears just like there was confusions the usage of the Os and Xs in the X-ing a Paragraph. In this context, the theme of the X-ing a Paragraph, widely reflects on the author’s experiences in the writing career.
Horror and mystery were part of the Edgar Alan Poe life. He only attended the university for one semester and then dropped due to financial difficulties. Orphaned at a tender age, he attempted to join the army at the capacity of cadet but failed. Later, he left the people who took care of him, John and Frances Allan, to join the world of uncertainties. Therefore, it is not by coincidence that some of his works reflects terror and misery themes. Such works include The Black Cat amongst others.
Edgar Alan Poe’s literary works appear in three categories, with each category perhaps presenting the various phases of life experiences. Poe fell in love at an early age as sixteen with Elmira Royster. He engaged her despite the lack of parental consent.
Coincidentally, he dedicated his first wave of writing to themes of innocence and beauty coupled with “Love and Joy as dynamic life values in the poet’s feeling for the potentiality of the harmony of mind with nature, of the “soul” with “God” or the universal ‘Ens’” (Cornelius 5). This first category, between1827 to 1831, possessed impeccable romantic myths tantamount to the memoirs of paradise or perhaps if anything less than that, Eden. Edgar Alan Poe’s mother died when he was quite young.
The tragedy left him under foster care. Reflections of pain and loss of the close relatives arguably are evident in his publications of the 1831 to 1841 decade. In this end, Cornelius laments, “a radical change was reflected in poems and tales on the theme of death as finality in a cosmic void of darkness and silence” (13). Though not predicted, state of desperation associated with loss of loved ones in this generation of his literal works, were to turn around and afflict his life again when he lost his wife who he treasured so much in 1847.
Additionally, his works introspects critically the theme of love and hatred. Among the stories in which he ardently addresses hatred and love include William Wilson and Tell-Tale Heart. He looks at the two opposite emotions as complex in nature with deferring psychological impacts especially in the way they serve to blend with each other.
With regard to William Wilson and Tell-Tale Heart, hatred and love stand out as universal realities. It is impossible to separate one from the other. As a way of example, in Tell-Tale Heart, Edgar Alan Poe admits loving a man who he, in turn, murders violently. He presents a paradox between the early men that he loves to the dead man that he hates him.
Arguably, one might extend this paradox to the experiences of Edgar Alan Poe, which were full of instances of happiness. This is evident when he falls in love at sixteen, as well as the instances when he suffers psychologically from the loss of his loved ones where he feels as if the world hates him most.
Edgar Alan Poe was a poet right from his birth. His life experiences provide him with the vital tools for use in the development of his talent.
As Bits and pieces II comment, “He Delights in the wild and visionary, his mind penetrates the inmost recesses of the human soul, creating vast and magnificent dreams, eloquent fancies and terrible mysteries” (Para 10). His life encounters blends well with the recurring themes of horror in his vast literal works, about seventy of them. The Black Cat is one of the stories that bring out the themes of horror and misery.
Much similar to The Tell-Tale Heart, The Black Cat deploys the madness decent of the narrator. Right from the start of the story, he asserts that he is sane despite acknowledging that the tale that he is about to narrate is predominantly wild. The story does not just dwell on the preconceived narrator’s state of mind. It brings into the attention the likely cause of this mental state. The author contented that alcoholism had immensely contributed to this state of mind.
Alcoholism interfered with the manner in which the narrator conceived and grasped realities, as it produced swings of his mood. The cat, consequently, serves almost the same purpose like alcohol in that it interferes with the dynamics characterizing the plot development of the story. The incorporation of alcohol and its associated repercussions is somewhat significant in terms of reflection of the author’s life encounters in the themes of his works.
In fact, Edgar Allan Poe involved himself in the abuse of alcohol especially when he experienced challenges in his life. Perhaps congruent with this proposition, majority of his biographies contend that Edgar Allan Poe could have died of alcohol poisoning in Baltimore. However, others claim based on the impossibility of determining the actual cause of his death. They associate it with afflictions by deleterious effects arising from overconsumption of alcohol.
Conclusively, based on the expositions put forth in the paper, it suffices to declare the life experiences of playwrights and filmmakers the chief determinants of most of the themes they feature in their works. Poe is not an exception.
The paper has pointed out how the situation on the ground contributed towards the many themes: horror and misery, academic crimes, and financial challenges amongst others that are present in his works. Otherwise, Poe’s provides an informative piece of mastery that reflects the life he encountered right from his childhood.
Bits and Pieces II. Selected Quotations about Edgar Allan Poe, 2010. Web. <https://www.eapoe.org/geninfo/poebtsp2.htm>.
Cornelius, Kay. Bloom’s BioCritiques: Edgar Allan. Philadelphia: Chelsea House Publishers, 2002. Print.
Neimeyer, Mark. Poe and Popular Culture collected in the Cambridge Companion to Edgar Allan Poe. London: Cambridge University Press, 2002. Print.
Penguin Readers Teachers Support Program. Outstanding Short Stories, 2008. Web.
Edgar Allan Poe: Analyzing Literature Works Essay
Most of the stories and poems by Edgar Alan Poe are focused on the problems of death. Even when none of the characters dies at the end of the story, the whole discussion is usually focused on suffering, bullying and the pre-death conditions when people are about to die from severe tortures.
Having read a number of Poe’s stories it becomes obvious that each time the author dwells upon death or another suffering he tries to be symbolic. Paying attention to such pieces of writing The Cask of Amontillado, The Pit and the Pendulum, The Tell-Tale Heart, Annabel Lee, and The Raven it is possible to say that the main idea of these writings is the death, even though the meaning of the death and the surrounding circumstances, and the background are absolutely different.
Using the theme of the death in these pieces the author wants to depict the human features, to show their inner feelings and qualities trying to shift the behavior of one person on the description of the whole society, depicting their sins and defects.
The Cask of Amontillado
The first short story under consideration seems to be detective even though there is no investigation of the murder. The detective investigation is offered for the readers who should understand the reasons for revenge as the author says nothing particular about them. However, it is obvious that the reasons are really strong as the murder is too cruel and the killer does not suffer from the pricks of conscience. There are two characters of the story Montresor and Fortunato.
The author begins the story with the sentence “The thousand injuries of Fortunato I [Montresor] had borne as I best could, but when he ventured upon insult, I vowed revenge” (Poe “Cask of Amontillado” 7). Thus, the author opens the story introducing the reader with the main idea of the plot and the further narration. The revenge was attentively considered. Montresor trapped Fortunato in the catacombs and nailed him.
Then, Montresor began “vigorously to wall up the entrance of the niche” (Poe “Cask of Amontillado” 16). The hate is expressed in these actions and the murderer does not suffer from what he has done as the final words of the story are as follows, “Against the new masonry I reerected the old rampart of bones. For the half of a century no mortal has disturbed them. In pace requiescat!” (Poe “Cask of Amontillado” 21).
The Tell-Tale Heart
The Tell-Tale Heart is the best example of the short story writing according to the Poe’s point of view where the murder and the pricks of conscience are the main themes. The story comprises only the most important elements eliminating extra and useless information. Trying to analyze the short story, it may be concluded that the main idea of the plot is to show the personal strong intention to do something and the consequences which lead to hard pricks of conscience.
The main character wanted to commit that crime, he wanted to kill the old man, and when the murder was committed, a person did not feel any guilt, he divided the body into pieces and hidden them in the room. When police comes, the murderer is also sure that they know nothing. However, the feeling of guilt is coming and the person begins to panic. The beating of the dead heart is the symbol of the pricks of conscience which make a murderer to confess in his actions.
The Pit and the Pendulum
Still, not all stories in Poe’s collection finish tragically. The Pit and the Pendulum is one more short story by Edgar Poe which shows human suffering and close death. However, the person is saved and the fatal outcome is not followed, the main idea of the story is to show that even those whose life has not bring any contribution, who has done nothing and has nothing to pity for are afraid of a close death.
People in such conditions become creative and their mind works faster and better. Trying to avoid the traps, the main character applies to various tricks. The author shows that all people want to live even if their lives cost nothing, at the same time people are able to act desperately when they do not see another way out.
The main character was ready to jump in the black pit, in the unknown place to make sure that he is not gong to be roasted alive (Poe “Pit and the pendulum” 30). A person has a choice and this is what all people have (even though some choices are terrible), they always have the choice whether to lead life and have nothing to remember at the end or to do particular and useful things.
Annabel Lee and The Raven
Annabel Lee and The Raven are two pieces of writing which depict the same theme, the death of the beautiful woman. The main idea of these two poems is the suffering of a man who has lost the women he loved and there is no another way to return her,
Eagerly I wished the morrow; – 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 (Poe “The Raven” line 8).
…the wind came out of the cloud chilling
And killing my Annabel Lee (Poe “Annabel Lee” line 25).
Suffering from that great loss each of the characters in the poem is reminded about, each of the men is trying to forget about this terrible event, but they are unable to do it. Reading the poem, it becomes obvious that each place, each movement and each object reminds the men about their loves,
For the moon never beams without bringing me dreams
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And the stars never rise but I see the bright eyes
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee (Poe “Annabel Lee” line 33).
Therefore, it is possible to conclude that the main idea of most of the Poe’s pieces of writing is the death. Each time the author tells the story about somebody’s life, he depicts the situation when either the person or his/he companion dies. The problem of death presented by the author depicts various problems in the society, shows personal worries and suffering.
The author tries to express the essence of human beings by means of placing those in the most stressful situations and the death and the murder are such cases. Having considered several short stories and poems by Edgar Poe, it becomes obvious that human reaction to the death is different as well as the choices they make after sin commitment.
Poe, Edgar Allan. “Annabel Lee.” Poems Collection. 2011. Web.
Poe, Edgar Allan. The cask of Amontillado. New York: ABC. Print.
Poe, Edgar Allan. The pit and the pendulum. New York: Heinemann, 2001. Print.
Poe, Edgar Allan. “The Raven.” Poems Collection. 2011. Web.
Edgar Allan Poe Essay
Edgar Allan Poe was an American writer, poet, and playwright. He was born in January 19, 1809 and died in October 7, 1849 (Burlingame 6). Edgar was among the pioneers of creative writing in America. He was proficient in writing short stories and contributed in developing detective fiction style. His love for writing was apparent and this led him to believe that he could earn a living through writing (Burlingame 12).
This resulted to a life of financial problems. Edgar’s childhood was difficult and stressing. For instance, his father abandoned the family and his mother died shortly after. He schooled at University of Virginia but later dropped owing to financial constraints (Burlingame 14). He joined the army but failed to record exemplary performance. This prompted him to quit the military. These events affected his relationship with foster parents with whom he parted ways.
This marked the onset of his publishing and literary exploits. He worked for several literary journals as a writer and analyst on matters literature (Burlingame 17). Edgar died in Baltimore and the cause of his death was not clear. It resulted from alcohol, suicide, coronary failure, brain exhaustion, among other reasons. Edgar Allan Poe was and is still a literary icon of international repute. His work continues to influence literature in United States of America and the world at large.
Edgar began his literary career at a very difficult time in the United States. The publishing environment was harsh and unfavourable (Wiles 22). Cases of piracy were rampant and publishers failed to compensate writers for work done. This made life difficult for Edgar as he depended on writing as a sole source of livelihood.
On several occasions, he had to solicit for monetary and other forms of assistance from friends. After trying poetry, Allan turned to other forms of literary styles, especially prose writing (Wiles 22). He wrote several stories for a journal in Philadelphia after which he commenced work on his drama, Politan. In 1833, Edgar won a literary prize for his accomplishments in writing short stories.
Through this award, Edgar captured John P Kennedy’s attention, who later introduced him to Thomas White. Thomas White was the editor of southern literary messenger (Wiles 23). Edgar rose to position of assistant editor. His work contributed to success of the periodical. He worked on poetry, critiques, book reviews, and an array of short stories (Wiles 26).
During his lifetime, Edgar cultivated an image of a seasoned literary critic, mostly depicted in his long career as a writer and critic (Meltzer 32). His fellow writers and critics held him in high esteem and respect for his literary prowess. He was an acclaimed writer in fiction literature.
Poe was instrumental in establishing and developing the genre of detective fiction. His work in this genre has influenced style and approach of contemporary fiction writers. His influence is apparent in the field of science fiction, with several writers writing sequels to his works (Meltzer 40). Edgar has had immense influence on modern writers. His works remain pivotal in shaping contemporary literary endeavours.
Edgar Allan Poe’s literary work traversed the field of science, particularly physics and cosmology. This was particularly contained in Eureka: A Prose Poem, which he wrote in 1848, a year before his death (Meltzer 43). The poem contained a theory that effectively embodied the big bang theory in intricate and candid detail.
In writing Eureka, Edgar shunned scientifically accepted procedures and wrote from personal feelings and emotions, and thus categorised it under art rather than science. Edgar was also experienced in code writing. He exploited the fact that people were not aware of this form of writing in fine detail. He took advantage of that by popularizing himself as a seasoned expert in cryptography (Meltzer 45).
He managed to awaken public interest in the subject and propagated a culture of continuity in the subject matter. William Friedman, a cryptologist in the 20th century, drew inspiration from Edgar’s exploits in this area of practice. William was inspired to follow this career after reading Edgar’s work in his early life. During his days in the US Army, William applied his experience in cryptography to understand and crack the coded language used by Japan during the Second World War (Meltzer 52).
This example is a perfect demonstration of how Edgar Allan Poe influenced society through his interest in literature and science. Edgar Allan Poe excelled in gothic literature. In his writing, he recurrently focused on the subject of death in intricate details. He examined various aspects of death and its effects on human beings. He questioned what happens to human body after death. People did not appreciate his foray into death because of its tag as a taboo subject.
His in-depth analysis of death portrayed him as being rude and offensive. For a long time, people did not embrace his literary themes. However, his writings influenced people as they appreciated his style and school of thought. In the end, his literary work earned respect and admiration from fans and peers.
Edgar Allan Poe’s life was full of challenges and events that turned into a tale of sorts. However, Allan was a tenacious soul always willing to fight to see another day. The realities surrounding his personal life were difficult and taxing in many aspects. In his fighting spirit, Edgar did not give up on life (Hayes 22). Later in life, he encountered numerous problems, most of which he surmounted with considerable ease.
Through his life, people learn countless lessons with regard to the nature of human life. Through his life, it is apparent that life presents us with numerous challenges and complexities. However, we should not allow the challenges to dampen our spirit to soldier on with life. Just like Edgar, we should endeavour to face difficulties in a rational and intelligent manner. Edgar was not perfect in life but he struggled to fulfil his destiny in the best way possible (Hayes 29).
Edgar Allan Poe’s influence is apparent in modern society. Through his works of literature, many writers have been inspired to explore literary circles. His literary style and approach has remained a point of reference for many students of literature.
Literary enthusiasts derive morale from Edgar, considering that he lived in an era when technological advancements were minimal. Undoubtedly, it was difficult to advance literary agenda in whatever form. Edgar, in his element, overcame challenges and established a literary legacy that has stood the test of time.
Indeed, Edgar has influence on modern society. In literary circles, people have a lot to gain from his unique style and approach to pertinent issues in society. Beyond literature, people learn to appreciate the value of hard work and dedication to work. Allan was a hard worker who always believed in the sanctity of individual industry. Indeed, Edgar Allan Poe continues to inspire society through his works of literature.
Burlingame, Jeff. Edgar Allan Poe: Deep Into That Darkness Peering. London:
Enslow Publishers, 2008. Print.
Hayes, Kevin. The Cambridge Companion to Edgar Allan Poe. London: Cambridge
University Press, 2002. Print.
Meltzer, Milton. Edgar Allan Poe: A Biography. New York: Twenty-First Century
Books, 2003. Print.
Wiles, Julian. Nevermore! : Edgar Allan Poe: The Final Mystery. New York: Dramatic
Publishing, 1995. Print.
The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe Rhetorical Essay
The Raven is a narrative styled poem by popular poet Poe. It is a brilliant expression of loss and the musings of the narrator about his loss are simply enchanting. The simple musicality and a sense of the supernatural theme contained in the narration are engulfing.
The flow of the poem is vividly described step by step explaining in detail every single action of the narrator. The poem manages to show the untold devotion the narrator has to a love one who has already left him. The raven that visits him briefly makes his mind deviate from the mourning but he soon resumes his old sadness (Gerald 92).
A poem that deals with family relationships and explain the poem’s meaning
The poem is heavily based on the relationship between the narrator and Lenore with their affection being the subject of the whole poem. The narrator is presumably mourning the loss of Lenore and assumes that the raven was an angel sent to comfort him during his grief. The poem describes the sad state of the narrator and describes how the presence of the bird on his window brings him joy.
The narrator is just indoors almost napping but is awaken by a wrapping on his door that turns out to be just the wind. He most probably created the wrapping on his door by thinking, but then the raven tapping on his window turns out to be real (Gerald 88).
He is momentarily relieved of his mourning as he indulges the raven. He happens to think that the bird can talk and claims that the only answer the bird has given is the word nevermore.
This response does not go well with the narrator since he asks the bird more questions and when the raven replies nevermore to whether the narrator is going to reunite with Lenore in heaven the narrator is infuriated. The speaker is essential to the point of view from which the poem is written.
The poem has a sad tone which is the general atmosphere of sadness that characterizes the personal life journey of Poe. He faced a lot of challenges in his life and it seems he was accustomed to being sad. His father abandoned them when he was young and his relationship with his step father was a struggle.
He never managed to finish college because he was a drunk and used to gamble. Even life with his relatives did not work out for him.
This vicious cycle of sadness never left him and after the failure of his first two marriages he married Virginia. This marriage was first done in secret since she was his cousin and in addition thirteen years of age making her a minor. Furthermore, it expresses the unending devotion that the narrator has for a loved one they have lost.
It is also a mourning poem like a dirge that never ends. The mournful tone could also be as result of the narrator’s grief due to his mother’s Eliza Poe’s death (Gerald, 72).
Analyze a love and death poem relating it to both the cultural time in which it was written and the present.
The poem describes the narrator’s deep anguish after losing a loved one. This deep feeling of loss can only result from deeper feelings of love. The strong bond that the love causes is the reason as to why the narrator is so saddened by his loss. He keeps thinking that the person who left them is going to come back hence when he hears a knock he assumes that it is Lenore.
The way the knock on the door is described as gentle and his response in a sure manner shows his anticipation that Lenore will return to him. The arrival of the bird makes him excited that he will hear from Lenore. The narrator even seems happy for a moment when the bird is there (Robert 99).
The death of Lenore seems to have devastated the narrator because his current mental state is questionable. He thinks that the bird has been sent from the afterlife with a message from Lenore. He even believes that the bird can speak and when it responds unfavorably to his question he gets agitated.
Select one of Edgar Allan Poe’s and Emily Frost’s poems. Analyze it and explain why it is representative of their work
The poem is composed of eighteen stanzas each of which has five lines. It uses a lot of rhyme within and without the stanzas, for instance the more, evermore and nevermore. It also has a lot of alliteration in the lines one is rapping, tapping and napping.
There is an extensive use of repletion as the word nevermore has been repeated to end the stanzas. The main theme is death that describes loss and mourning and best represented by the sad tone maintained through out the poem (Gerald, 70).
The Raven was Poe’s first work that made him popular and the way he wrote it to satisfy both the classical readers and seasonal readers. This work made Poe a household name in American literature. The work encompasses Poe’s literary skills since he wrote both poems and narratives.
This is a poem that was written in narrative style but contains poem properties. The description is as a narrative but the literary work is done in stanzas and lines just like a poem. This poem shows Poe’s ability to combine his creative abilities to come up with a brilliant work of art (Robert 101).
Gerald, Kennedy. A Historical Guide to Edgar Allan Poe. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2001. Print.
Robert, Regan. Poe: A Collection of Critical Essays. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice- Hall, 2007. Print.
Literature Symbols in “The Raven” by Edgar Allan Poe Essay
Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven” (1844) is often discussed by many critics and readers as one of the most mysterious and ‘dark’ poems of the 19th century because of its rich gloomy symbolism. “The Raven” is the poetic narrative which represents the sad story of the young man who spends his days in despair because of losing his beloved Lenore. To accentuate the narrator’s sufferings, Poe uses a lot of symbols which are closely associated with the ideas of death, sorrow, and grief.
In spite of the fact that there are many symbols of different types in Poe’s “The Raven”, such symbols of darkness and depression as December, the raven, the Night’s Plutonian shore, and the repetition of the word ‘Nevermore’ are most vivid to represent the idea of the narrator’s despair because they serve to emphasize the threatening darkness and the atmosphere of loss surrounding the poem’s melancholic narrator.
Poe’s approach to using the symbols of darkness in “The Raven” can be discussed as rather powerful and intriguing because all the mentioned symbols are colored with the emotional descriptions presented in such words as “weak,” “bleak,” “dying,” or “ghost” (Poe 1-8). Thus, the first significant symbol which appears in the poem is the symbol of December. People are inclined to associate December with the beginning of winter as the ‘dead’ season.
Poe uses the dark symbol of December while presenting the settings for describing the narrator’s sorrow because of losing the beloved woman. As a result, the symbol of the “bleak December” is effective to emphasize the narrator’s ‘weak’ state of depression during the days of noting ‘dying’ embers and their ‘ghosts’ and focusing on “fantastic terrors” (Poe 1, 7-8, 14).
If the symbol of December is used to demonstrate the gloomy settings for the narrator’s sorrow associated with the death, the author’s use of the word ‘darkness’ provides the readers with the more obvious understanding of the narrator’s loneliness and preoccupation with depressing thoughts. Having opened the door to know who was tapping, the narrator can see only darkness and “nothing more” (Poe 24).
Focusing on these symbols, Carlson notes that the poem’s setting “in December, at midnight, in the midst of a tempest, in a small chamber that is the only spot of light amid overwhelming darkness, suggests that the threat of nothingness is real” (Carlson 98). Symbols of December and darkness accentuate the narrator’s loneliness in his chamber where he can be accompanied only with his depressing thoughts and sorrow.
The raven as the main symbol of the poem appears only in the seventh stanza of the poem when the narrator is exhausted because of impossibility to solve the mystery of tapping at the door, and the focus on this bird adds the new meaning to the narrator’s sufferings and melancholic thoughts. The raven is described in the poem with the help of such words as “ebony,” “grim,” “ungainly, ghastly, gaunt, and ominous,” and “bird or devil” (Poe 43-46, 71, 85). Moreover, the raven’s eyes are of the “demon’s that is dreaming” (Poe 105).
These words are associated in the readers’ mind with blackness, the bad, and evil. That is why the black raven appearing in the narrator’s chamber can only foreshadow the dramatic future for the character which is full of sufferings and even possible death. On the other hand, the symbol of the raven is the answer to the narrator’s questions about the possibility to recreate his relations with Lenore.
Thus, in his work, Abu-Melhim states that “the Raven represents the harsh reality of what we can never recreate” (Abu-Melhim 117). From this point, the raven as the symbol of death and grief is also used to stress on the character’s inability to avoid his fate of losing his beloved Lenore and even losing his own life in depression and despair.
The symbol of the raven is closely associated with the dark symbol of the Night’s Plutonian shore the understanding of which is possible only with references to the role of Pluto in classical mythology. Pluto is the god of underworld that is why the Night’s Plutonian shore is the symbol of the afterlife which is closely connected with the symbol of the raven in the poem because the raven is discussed as coming from that shore.
The poem’s narrator tries to learn what name the raven has in the mystic world of the Night’s Plutonian shore, and he hears only “Nevermore” (Poe 46-48). The symbol of the Night’s Plutonian shore seems to explain the role of the symbol of the raven in the poem and to accentuate the idea of darkness because the narrator is sure that the raven came from the underworld, and his place is there (Poe 98).
The presence of these symbols in their combination serves to make the atmosphere of death in the poem more obvious and thrilling. If the darkness was presented in the first poem’s stanzas only in the form of melancholic descriptions and symbols of depression and despair, the symbols of the raven and the Night’s Plutonian shore make the poem more mystic and dramatic while evoking the close associations with death.
The raven also plays such an important role in the poem as the Prophet, and the raven has the right to provide answers to the narrator’s questions about his fate and his beloved Lenore. The raven’s only answer to all the character’s questions is ‘Nevermore.’ This word is repeated in the poem many times in order to accentuate the darkness, which is associated with the observed reality in contrast to the narrator’s hopes and desires.
The answer ‘Nevermore’ said by the raven as “the thing of evil” is directly connected with the narrator’s chances to see Lenore one more time, and this word creates the atmosphere of the lost hopes and absolute despair which intensifies the whole impression of darkness and shadow (Poe 91).
Carlson pays attention to the fact that “the shadow of the bird of darkness is a symbolic bit of larger darkness threatening to blot out the brightness briefly glimpsed in Lenore” (Carlson 98). Thus, the reader understands that the symbol of the raven and the bird’s word are used to accentuate the gloomy fate of the narrator and the threat of death.
To emphasize the idea of darkness as reflecting the narrator’s thoughts and feelings in the poem “The Raven,” Edgar Allan Poe uses many vivid symbols which produce strong associations with death and despair. These important symbols are December, the raven, the Night’s Plutonian shore, and the word ‘Nevermore’ as the bird’s answer to the narrator’s questions. To make these symbols more effective and striking, Poe uses many emotionally-colored words in order to accentuate the depth of the used dramatic symbols.
Abu-Melhim, Abdel-Rahman. “Explicating Poe’s Raven from a Psycho-Linguistic Perspective”. Studies in Literature and Language 7.3 (2013): 113-118. Print.
Carlson, Eric. A Companion to Poe Studies. USA: Greenwood Publishing Group, 1996. Print.
Poe, Edgar Allan. The Raven. 2013. Web.