Edgar Allan Poe Namely the Raven Annabel Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper :

Edgar Allan Poe namely, The Raven, Annabel Lee and the Spirit of the Dead. This paper compares the themes and tones of the three poems. This paper also lays emphasis on some events that took place in the poet's life and eventually drove him into writing such poetry. The paper also reviews the conditions, which lead to the death of a great poet, Edgar Allan Poe.

Analysis of Poems by Edgar Allan Poe

Edgar Allen Poe, an American writer, is one of the well renowned poets of all times. Even though he died a long time ago his poems and short stories are still read with a lot of interest. He describes his poems with the most resplendent of imagination and vocabulary. Poe, a great poet and a critic is famous as the first master of the short story form, especially tales of the mysterious and macabre (Edgar Allan Poe, Encarta Encyclopedia ©

Encarta Encyclopedia ©

1993-2002 Microsoft Corporation). Even though after his death his literary work was questioned and debated upon, many American and European writers owe him a lot of credit for being their inspirational writer.

Poe has written a number of poems in his life time and about twelve of his poems are well-known for their impeccable literary composition and for their haunting themes. It is without a question that the poems of Edgar Allan Poe apprehended the imaginativeness of its audience with their mystical imagery and fascination. According to some writers and poets who say, that even though Poe is widely known and credited as the originator of the modern detective story and as a pioneer in the field of mystery writing, he thought of himself first as a lyric poet, and published poems and treatises on poetry (Edgar Allan Poe, Encarta Encyclopedia ©

Encarta Encyclopedia ©

1993-2002 Microsoft Corporation).

While producing his work, Edgar Allan Poe functioned primarily as a book reviewer and was successful in generating a number of criticisms in his essays. If read, it would be found that his essays are a true picture of derision, drollery and presentation of literary pretensions.

Even though Poe was a poet by his own choice, but need for finance turned him into writing short stories. It is not certain that whether Poe originated short stories or not but it is certain that he instigated the novel of detection. The Gold Bug published in 1843, The Murder in the Rue Morgue published in 1841, The Mystery of Marie Roget published in 1843 and The Purloined Letter published in 1844 are some of his honorary works in the sector of story writing.

Amongst his poems The Raven published in 1845, Annabel Lee published in 1849 and The Spirits of the Dead published in 1827 are enchanting and mesmerizing. The basic theme of all these three poems is Death. In The Raven, the despondency and the portent of death dismay the audience whereas Annabel Lee and The Spirit of the Dead are verses on the expression of sorrow on the death of a beautiful young woman and contact between man and spirits respectively. All these three poems illustrate Poe's usage of rhythm and symbolism.

Edgar Allan Poe in The Raven is overcome by the bird raven which is symbolized with death. This poem dirges on the poet's defunct wife. In the poem the narrator seeks consolation from a giant bird whose only utterance is the dismal Nevermore. He asks the bird many questions about his long lost love, the exceptional and luminous maiden whom the angels name Lenore but the only response that he hears is nevermore. He inquires about his love solely with the intention of further torturing himself. Throughout the poem The Raven, Poe makes a personal, introverted hell strangely mesmerizing poem to all (The Raven, EdLibrary).

This poem represents the sad conditions and losses of Poe's life. It is said that Poe's The Raven and his life were just as sad and eccentric. After the abandonment of his father and the disturbing death of his mother, Poe was admitted into an orphanage. John Allan, a wealthy tobacco merchant, later adopted him. Poe's relationship with John Allan was not profound and it remained that way until the death of John Allan. The only person at that time who truly cared for Poe was his mother, John Allan's wife. John's will left him nothing but he was struck by greater calamities after the death of his mother. The burden of all the debts as a result of gambling came upon the shoulders of Poe. Poe was driven into greater despair when he had to turn in an early resignation from the University of Virginia. The greatest of all the blows came when his most beloved wife, Virginia Clemn died from the same disease as his mother. It is said that, "The tragedies in Poe's life are reflected in his poem, The Raven, and can be predominately seen through the comparison between the loss of his wife, and the narrators loss of Lenore. The apparent tone in Edgar Allan Poe's The Raven seemingly represents a very painful condition of mind, an intellect sensitive to madness and the abyss of melancholy brought upon by the death of a beloved lady" (Carl MacGowan, The Raven By Edgar Allan Poe).

The audience becomes well aware of Poe's true tone of melancholy by the coupling problems in The Raven and the repetitive verse spoken by the raven. Poe's grief for the loss of his wife can be very well comprehended by the narrator's anguish for the loss of Lenore. After the death of Virginia, Poe involved himself into drinking in order to quench his pain for his beloved wife. In the poem, the narrator constantly ponders whether he will see his wife after death. From both these conditions i.e. Poe obsession with drinking and narrator asking the raven about seeing his wife again parallelism can be depicted.

The raven tells the narrator that he will never see his wife again.

Then methought the air grew denser, perfumed from unseen censer

Swung by Seraphim whose footfalls tinkled on the tufted floor.

Wretch," I cried, "thy God hath lent thee - by these angels he hath sent thee

Respite - respite and nepenthe, from thy memories of Lenore!

Quaff, oh quaff this kind nepenthe and forget this lost Lenore!"

Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."

Edgar Allan Poe. Encarta Encyclopedia ©

Encarta Encyclopedia ©


Microsoft Corporation).

The frequent drinking of alcohol lead to the taunting of Poe into incessant despondency and eventually resulted in his demise. Just as alcohol derived Poe into a further stage of devastation, the raven reveals the narrator's utmost fear and terror of never his wife ever again. The continuos use of some words in The Raven by the raven reflects the depressing tone in the poem. In the poem it is important that the answers to the questions are already known, to illustrate the self-torture to which the narrator endures (Carl MacGowan, The Raven By Edgar Allan Poe). The use of Nevermore in the poem signifies the dispirited and blue state of the mind. A phrase is used in Poe's The Raven, which impresses upon the growing tone of melancholy. This phrase accomplishes its significance via its building of cognizance of the inevitable. Knowing that the raven will answer the narrator's entire questions with the word Nevermore, the narrator further inquires about his lost love with the purpose of torturing himself even more. He says,

Prophet! Said I, "thing of evil! Prophet still, if bird or devil!

By that Heaven that bends above us - by that God we both adore

Tell this soul with sorrow laden if, within the distant Aidenn,

It shall clasp a sainted maiden whom the angels name Lenore

Clasp a rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore."

Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."

Edgar Allan Poe. Encarta Encyclopedia ©

Encarta Encyclopedia ©


Microsoft Corporation).

Through this poem Edgar Allan Poe makes his personal world of sorrow and terror enjoyable for all those who read it. The poem very well accomplishes its task of drawing its audience into the circle of insanity through Poe's terrorizing description, mind-boggling comparison between his life and the poem, and frightful continuation of the depressing tone.

In the next poem called Annabel Lee the narrator speaks of the early death of his beautiful young wife. Both the poems Annabel Lee and The Raven are similar in the sense that both talks about lost love. After reading the poems Annabel Lee and The Raven the audience observes that the tone and the theme of both poems is similar but the mourning style and the loss of these women differ.

Annabel Lee begins by an introduction of a beautiful woman named Annabel Lee who lives with her lover in a beautiful kingdom by the sea. Both are referred to as children and just like children they are innocent and not bothered by the worldly concerns. Their love is describes as…

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