Edgar Allen Poe 's The Raven

1398 Words Nov 11th, 2014 6 Pages
Insanity, the unsoundness of the mind, and madness are topics that are difficult to understand. However, Edgar Allen Poe’s poem, The Raven presents the concept of insanity in an enchanting way. In this paper, I am going to argue that Poe’s use of the image of the raven represents the narrators budding madness and could possibly be viewed as a symbol for his subconscious mind in the poem. Poe seems to structure the raven in this way through his abstract language, form, tone, symbolism and imagery. Although The Raven is rich in symbolism, the plot is actually quite simple. In the poem, the unnamed speaker is reading and “nearly napping” in his home alone on a “bleak December” night when he hears a tapping at his door. He is in a deep sorrow over the loss of Lenore who is assumed to be the speaker’s deceased wife/lover. He discovers that it is a raven that was tapping at his door and he begins to speak to the bird who responds only with the phrase “nevermore”. As the poem ends, the speaker seems to have been driven into a fit of insanity because of his “conversations” with the raven. Like many of Poe’s poems the setting of The Raven is dark and gloomy. In the first stanza, we learn that it is late at night, “Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary, (1).” Moreover, the speaker suggests that the night was a “bleak December”, further cementing the dismal tone of the poem. It seems significant that Poe chose the poem to take place at “midnight” and in…
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