The Mood And Tone Of Edgar Allan Poe’s The Raven

April 27, 2022 by Essay Writer

An essay written about a psychic teenager with a brother that is obsessed with money would be a great essay, but unfortunately that is not the case. It is, in fact, written about something almost as well known. Edgar Allan Poe’s poem “The Raven” is a poem of madness and tragedy. Though not as vibrant and happy as Disney’s sitcom, they both do have something in common, the supernatural.

Poe’s life was full of misery and torment, leading him to write some of the best works known to man. That in itself may be a little biased but if you really sit down and analyze all of his works, the use of imagery and figurative language is out of this world. Poe was born in Boston, Massachusetts on 19 January 1809 to David Poe, Jr. and Elizabeth Arnold Poe. Poe’s father left the family when Poe was only two years of age and his mother died of tuberculosis just a year later. Poe the went off to live with John and Frances Allan in Richmond, Virginia.

The poem begins with the narrator reading old books of “forgotten lore” (Poe), books of black magic, on a dark and gloomy night. The narrator is using these books to ease the pain he feels of losing his love, Lenore. The narrator suddenly wakes from a sleep he was falling into when he hears a tapping sound coming from his chamber door. As he sits at his desk, he cannot come to the conclusion who is at his chamber door, for it may be his beloved Lenore at his chamber door. Debating back and forth, logic (referring to the logical part of the narrator’s brain) takes over and confesses, “Tis some visitor […] tapping at my chamber door – Only this and nothing more” (Poe). Going with the idea that it may be another visitor and not Lenore, he apologizes for not answering the door any sooner. He explains that he had been napping and that he could barely make out that somebody had been tapping at his chamber door. He explains, “[…] I scarce was sure I heard you”, proving that the tapping could have been a dream but he was sure that is was real. Unfortunately for the logic he dangled his belief on, when he opened his chamber door, only darkness stood there in front of him. Standing in that darkness his emotional side starts to take over again and then he calls for Lenore once more. He turns after not hearing anything and walks back into the room when he hears tapping again. This time the tapping is coming from the window and therefore it is time to investigate what had made that noise. Although thinking it’s just the wind he must see what it is. When he goes to check on to see what had made the tapping noise, he opens the window and a raven walks inside. Immediately the raven flies up and sits in a precarious place, “Perched upon a bust of Pallas just above [his] chamber door” (Poe). Intrigued in the raven he asks the raven its name and the raven responds “Nevermore”. Despite asking a rhetorical question, the raven responds, catching the narrator off guard; even though the response doesn’t make any sense. Nothing more does the raven do, just sits in silence on top of Athena’s bust. The narrator suddenly feels a great sense of sadness when he realizes that, like everything in the narrator’s life, the raven will be gone when morning breaks. Right after the narrator expresses his feelings about that the raven croaks “Nevermore” again, as if telling the narrator that the bird will never leave him. As shocking as that may be the narrator defines it as just being what the previous owners taught it due to some ‘unmerciful Disaster” (Poe). Still finding the bird amusing he sits in front of the bust where the raven is perched and ponders what the bird means by “Nevermore”. 

As he sits in front of that raven he can’t help think of his long-lost love, Lenore, who will never have to pleasure of sitting in this chair again. Just by thinking about her, suddenly the narrator starts to smell a distinct fragrance in the air, an incense in the room which makes him angry. He asks the raven for a potion that will help him forget that lost love Lenore and the memories of her that haunt him. The raven responds again, “Nevermore”, enraging the narrator. He then calls the raven a “Prophet” but still has not seen anything that proves if it is good or evil. The narrator then asks if there is a “balm in Gilead” (reference to the old testament which is a medicine of sorts that will cure all sinners) that will rid him of the pain of his memory of Lenore. The raven responds with its notorious answer once again, “Nevermore”. The narrator asks the raven if he will be in Lenore’s presence in heaven and the raven answers once again with “Nevermore”. This enrages him even more than he already was, and in his anger, he commands the raven to leave him in his pain and once again the raven responds, “Nevermore”. The last stanza shows the narrator much later, much closer to the present, where the raven is still perched on the bust of Pallas Athena. Never moving the raven has and forever will cast a shadow upon the narrator’s soul so it “Shall be lifted—nevermore!”

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