The Narrator In Edgar Allan Poe's The Raven

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In the poem, “The Raven,” Edgar Allan Poe uses gothic themes and numerous literary devices to illustrate the depressed state of the narrator. The narrator is obsessed with the fact that his loved one, Lenore, is gone. The reader is then led to suspect that the narrator is unreliable and may have possibly killed Lenore – and that this could possibly be the reason for the narrator drowning himself in sorrow. Poe suggests through the form of the poem-i.e. long drawn out line length, falling trochaic syllables, repetitive assonance- that the narrator’s inability to escape melancholy is a direct result of the narrator’s unstable mental condition. The sense we get in fact is that perhaps he cannot overcome this melancholy because he cannot cope with the…show more content…
The quote: “But the raven, sitting lonely on the placid bust, spoke only/That one word, as if his soul in that one word did he outpour.” (55-56) tells us that the narrator has some knowledge and feeling of connection with the raven. I argue that the narrator knows that ravens have a limited vocabulary suspects that the raven will answer every question he asks him with, “Nevermore” (49). Therefore, when he inquires if he will ever see Lenore ever again or if he will ever heal or escape from his melancholic mentality he knows that the raven is going to answer with, “Nevermore” (84/90). There is no logic to the narrator asking a question which he knows the responder is going to say. This leads to reader becoming skeptical of the narrator’s reliability and sanity. Towards the end of the poem the narrator asks the bird, “. . . is there balm in Gilead?” (89). The narrator is asking if he will ever receive forgiveness for something that is not specified. Which leads the reader to wonder why the narrator is feeling this intense guilt The reader can infer from the narrator’s anguish that he is possibly revealing that he murdered Lenore and that
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