The Raven And It's Undeniable Atmosphere Of Doom

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Literary Theory Paper

Drew Schuler-Jones

American Literature to 1865

The Raven and it’s Undeniable Atmosphere of Doom

Edgar Allan Poe conducts a symphony of crisp, colorful imagery alongside an eerie symbolism with an eloquent melody to generate a sensation of undeniable doom in his poem “The Raven”. Poe creates this ambiance by using rhyming, alliteration, and repetition to heighten the mood of the poem, as well as the strange, frightening raven as a sort of grim-reaper figure. In my opinion, Poe was an architect with his words, building a revolutionary poem such as this, stimulating spine-tingling creepiness into the bodies of readers nearly 300 years later.

In the poem, Poe uses the image of the black bird, the raven. The bird’s
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Poe uses an alliteration of the “d” sound to add to the dismal atmosphere of the room. Using several various tenses of the word dream, as well as doubting, dared, and darkness all reiterate the gloomy presence.

Another factor that added to the atmosphere of doom due to repetition is the simple word “Nevermore”. For example, the raven says the words on several different occasions throughout the course of the poem. This otherwise irrelevant words builds suspense because it’s meaning can be interpreted differently each time the word is used on it’s rollercoaster to it’s climax. It is ambiguous as to whether the bird is matter-of-factly stating “nevermore” or if the word simply resounds in the grief twisted mind of the narrator.

The meter of the poem is another large component to the poem’s distressful effect. The meter that this poem is written in is called “trochaic octameter”. According to, Trochaic octameter means that the first and third lines have sixteen syllables each, which makes eight pairs of syllables. The emphasis in these pairs is usually placed on the first syllable: Once u/pon a /midnight/ dreary. This kind of syllable pair is called a trochee. Since there are eight syllable pairs in a line, we call it "octameter". This meter makes his poem pitter-patter, hypnotic, and captivating. The rhymes and rhythms catapult you further into the depths of the
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