Diction In The Raven

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In Edgar Allan Poe’s poem “The Raven,” he illustrates a world of utter loneliness and paranoia which has plagued him as the result of a petrifying raven and the loss of his wife, Lenore. He can’t seem to get over his pain so he chooses isolation and insanity instead. Through the grim diction and dark symbolism in stanza 15, Poe depicts the insanity and madness of the human mind when a loved one is ripped away.
Poe uses dark symbolism to represent his insanity mixed with the desire for his lost love Lenore. He uses the Raven as a representation of the Devil while truly believing it has come from the Underworld to haunt him in his isolation. This shows the disturbing length his mind has come to complete madness as he describes the Raven by saying, “‘Prophet!’ said I, ‘thing of evil! - prophet still, if bird or devil!” (Poe 85). In his lunacy, he associates the Raven as a Prophet who is either good or bad but has come to tell him of his love
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Poe uses dark and nebulous diction such as “evil”, “devil”, “horror”, and “desolate” in lines 85-88 of “The Raven” to develop a sinister mood and further the connection between his dark past and this horrific raven that has come to haunt him. He can’t seem to escape his past or find any form of solitude and peace in his isolation which leads to his desperate plea where he begs the Raven asking for a “balm in Gilead” (Poe 89). He makes this allusion to a place in Palestine which is known for its healing ointment in the Bible to portray his desperation as he implores the Raven to give him an answer and heal his endless suffering. He feels utterly lost in despair without his love Lenore which leads to his eroding sanity and paranoia as he inflicts his own form of self-torture by pleading with a raven whose only answer will ever be, “Nevermore”
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