The Raven Essays Literary Devices

Literary Devices Used in the Raven by Edgar Allen Poe

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Analysis of the Raven by Edgar Allen Poe The nineteenth century poet Edgar Allen Poe makes use of several literary devices in order to create a gloomy atmosphere in his poem “The Raven”. Alliteration, rhyme, onomatopoeia, assonance, and repetition are used to contribute to the melodic nature of the work and provide an almost “visual” representation of his gothic setting. Poe is a master of using these writing techniques. “The Raven” is one of his most popular works. This is certainly due, in part to his use of these literary devices in this piece.

The poem tells of a narrator who is reading an old book in his parlor when he is interrupted by a knock at the door. The protagonist is in a period of grieving over the loss of his love, Lenore. At first, he wonders who the visitor might be and resolves to inform him or her that he is indisposed at the moment. The narrator finally opens the door only to find no one there. He returns to the chair (which Lenore will no longer occupy), only to hear the rapping again. He decides that the sound may be coming from the window, so he opens it.

A raven enters through the window and lights upon a bust of a mythological figure that the narrator has in his room. The narrator questions the raven concerning its name, the bird answers “nevermore”. This startles the speaker, and he wonders aloud if the bird will leave him just as all of his friends seem to do. Again, he is answered by the raven “nevermore”. As the protagonist progressively becomes more and more upset with the situation, he decides that the raven must go. He even demands that the raven leave.

The response “nevermore” is once again given by the bird, which refuses to go. The narrator finally concludes that his soul is inextricably tied to this foul beast and he is to be forever tormented by it. The melodic nature of the poem and its very gloomy tone is reinforced by Poe’s choice of words and the sound effects that they convey. By the use of rhyme, the poem is made to flow much like a song when read aloud. For example, the second line and the last three lines of every stanza rhyme with each other. Many other internal rhymes are also found within the lines of the poem.

In fact, the first line of the poem contains an internal rhyme “Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered weak and weary”. Another example is found in Line 31 which reads “Back into the chamber turning, all my soul within me burning,” The poem is rife with such examples. Poe also uses repetition to accentuate the musical quality of “The Raven”. Obviously, the repeating of the word “nevermore” is used throughout the work not only to convey a sense of musicality, but to suggest the melancholy theme of this piece due to the connotations that the word expresses (lines 48, 54, 60, 72, etc. . Poe also uses repetition in other sections of the poem.

In lines 16 and 17, we read “’Tis some visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door; – Some late visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door;” In these lines, we get the impression that the speaker is trying to reassure himself that there is no sinister force at work, but simply a visitor at his door. Edgar Allen Poe was extremely talented at choosing words which not only support the fluidity of the work while also reinforcing the tone.

Alliteration is another literary device which is used throughout “The Raven”. Alliteration is the repetition of beginning consonant sounds. “The Raven” is full of examples of alliteration. An instance of this device is seen in line 26, in which the “d” sound is repeated: “Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before;” While another example is found in line 45: “’Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou,’ I said, ‘art sure no craven,’” In the previous sample, the “th” sound, as well as the “sh” sound are used for effect.

Poe craftily uses assonance throughout this piece, as well. Assonance is the repeating of a vowel sound in a line. Line 13 gives us an example of assonance as Poe couples the words “…purple curtain”. Immediately following this, he begins line 14 with the assonant words “Thrilled me-filled me…” Again, we see such a choice of words in line 59: “…hopes have flown…”. However, line 71, gives us perhaps the best example of Poe’s use of assonance when he writes “…grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt…” when describing the bird.

Edgar Allen Poe also employs onomatopoeia in “The Raven”. Onomatopoeia is a technique of using words which imitates the source of a sound which is described. An example is found when the “rapping” and “tapping” upon the speaker’s door and window is described (lines 3,4,5,21,22, and 32). Poe also offers onomatopoeia in line 37, when he uses the words “flirt and flutter” to describe the raven entering from the window. Another fine example is found in line 80 in which the writer mentions the “tinkle” of foot-falls on the floor.

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The Raven” offers a fine example of how the use of sound effects and other literary devices can be used by writers to establish a tone that creates a “mood” within the reader. Poe’s mastery of these tools is quite impressive. He artfully gives an illustration to writers, readers, and students of how to make full use of these implements to create the precise air of dread that Poe desires to convey, while maintaining the beauty of a flowing, melodic poem.

Author: Alfred Gobeil

in The Raven

Literary Devices Used in the Raven by Edgar Allen Poe

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Literary Elements Of The Raven By Edgar Allan Poe

Edgar Allan Poe is an American writer and is considered the founder of the horror story. Most of his work is dark and gloomy. This can be seen both in his prose and in his poetry. Poe’s writings are sometimes considered bizarre as the writer himself, but in fact they are profoundly artistically developed. His literary creations are perfect examples of Romantic and Gothic literature. In them he explores the world of the human mind, including the imagination and dreams. He wants the reader to be able to fully envision the scene as if he was there in the story. A good example of this can be found in his poem “The Raven”, which was first published in 1845. Poe wrote it when he was going through some difficult times and this is reflected in the overall feeling, which is emitted from the poem. Poe’s description of the setting in “The Raven” and his use of figurative language and symbolism help create one of the best poems he wrote and an atmosphere, which can still be felt by the readers today.
One of the strongest elements of this poem is its setting and the atmosphere, which is created by it. Poe pays great attention to even the smallest detail, which has its significant meaning within the whole. In various lines he describes the setting and without even noticing it the reader is getting a very clear picture of it. At the beginning Poe only states that it is a “dreary” midnight and therefore nothing exciting or joyful can be expected. After the plot starts evolving it suddenly stops and Poe returns to describing the scene. The character is sitting in a “chamber” reading books to forget his grief. Instead of using the word room, chamber is used to evoke a feeling of mystery and maybe even antiquity. It is December, there is a fire burning, but it is nearly dying and the furniture and décor are portrayed as luxurious, silken, velvet and cushioned. All this creates an atmosphere that is somewhat strange.
On the one hand the room seems cozy with the fire and comfortable chairs, but on the other hand gloomy. It even fills the character with “fantastic terrors never felt before”. To this is added the darkness and silence outside, which is only interfered by the tapping of the raven. It could be compared to today’s horror movies and how they also first build up tension before revealing what is hiding behind the door, in this poem’s case behind the window. The story is paused a few times throughout the poem by stating additional details about the setting. This is done to give the reader a moment to absorb what is going on and further occupy his imagination. Poe’s description helps the reader visualize the scene and raises his interest in what is actually going to happen. The setting effectively creates the emotions Poe wanted the reader to feel, while reading “The Raven”. It is therefore an important element of the poem and without this setting and its description the poem would not have such an impact on the reader.
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