The Gothic Elements In Edgar Allan Poe's The Raven

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An air of gloom, anguish and despair, with a hint of melancholy and a feathery apparition haunting the mind of a young scholar who is burdened by bereaved love and has secluded himself behind his chamber door, in a room full of bittersweet memories. Such is the work of Edgar Allan Poe, specifically, that of The Raven. Published on the 29th of January 1845, The Raven instantly became a hit and Poe’s most famous work. Oftentimes when discussing the gothic genre, many may immediately think of Poe, but in which sense is his work truly gothic? In the Raven, Poe conforms to a plurality of conventions characterised as typically gothic in order to effectively illustrate what effect the loss of a loved one can have on the mind.
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For Poe, this genre might have offered him the chance to write about his sorrows, since, at the time The Raven was written according to Joy Lanzendorfer of Mental Floss6, his wife was deathly ill, he had already lost many to tuberculosis and he must have known, in his bosom’s core, that he was to sadly let another one of his beloved go. This is where both the genre and a dark, ebony omen come into play. It can be said that the gothic genre allows us to discuss quite painful subjects through use of copious symbols and parallels and that we can see the effects of such heartbreaking things on the human mind, that we can gradually follow the decline, the decay one might go through after the traumatising event of losing someone close to oneself. The raven, further, is of importance for it, according to Poe, symbolised “mournful and never-ending remembrance.”7, the type we see in the poem when the bird repeats ‘nevermore’. The protagonist dreads the word for it reminds him of how he is incapable of perhaps ever seeing his dear Lenore ever again and how he is unable to ever forget her, as she has left her mark, like our beloved do on us, on his
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