March 21, 2019
Sanity and Love No More
Memories of lost loved ones usually are portrayed as something purely positive and a source of comfort, a way to keep them close and active in the memories of those left behind. Edgar Allan Poe does the opposite by portraying the memories as a burden that one cannot escape. The loss of a loved one can cause anyone to enter a deep depression. Edgar Allen Poe is no different. He wrote the poem The Raven while his wife was sick and after he had already lost several family members. Through meter, symbolism, and personification in The Raven, Edgar Allan Poe takes us on an almost musical literary journey of melancholy and the loss of sanity in this poem about lost love.
Edgar Allan Poe created a very structured and strict rhyming sequence in the writing of The Raven by creating a flow of almost musical words. The meter used in this poem is called trochaic octameter. Trochaic octameter is when the writer has the stress of the word fall on the first syllable in each foot, and each line has eight feet. The strictness of the meter leads to the musicality of the spoken word. The real magic in this poem happens when Poe adds internal rhyme to the rhythm, along with the utilization of end rhyme to each stanza. It creates a poem with two-thirds of it ending in the same sound. This rhyme sequence is called an ABCBBB rhyme scheme or sequence. There is a catch to having a regular rhythm throughout the poem. Poets will play with it to see how far they can go without actually changing it, and Edgar Allan Poe is no different. When we take a closer look at the stanzas, we notice that the last line is a lot shorter with seven syllables. Some of the other lines are also shorter, and the trick is that the lines all end in the rhyming sound of “ore” and he leaves off a syllable. Utilizing this trick isolates that “ore” sounds and it is even more noticeable. With this rhyming scheme and the constant rhyme of “ore” throughout the entire length of the poem, it helps create an almost musical sounding poem that is great for reading in the dark on a cold winter’s night.
Edgar Allan Poe utilizes symbolism to showcase his lost love. No other symbols are more prominent than the name of his lost love, Lenore. She is the speaker’s lost love and a constant in his never-ending fixation of her in his thoughts. He continually speaks her name and even tries to focus on something else only to revert to thoughts of Lenore. Even with this constant referencing back to Lenore, we do not learn anything substantial about her. We do not know her relation to him or even a description of her; she is nothing more than an idea, a shadow of a character, just a memory. “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 nevermore. (Poe 10-13)”. From these lines is where we first learn of Lenore and we already know that she...