The Unity Of Effect In Edgar Allen Poe's The Raven

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"The Raven" is the most famous of Poe's poems, notable for both its melodic and dramatic qualities. Emphasizing the "O" sound in words such as "Lenore" and "nevermore" underlines the lonely sound of the poem and establishes the overall atmosphere, and the repetition of "nevermore" gives a circular sense to the poem and contributes to what Poe called the unity of effect, where each word and line adds to the larger meaning of the poem. Like a number of Poe's poems, “The Raven” concerns an agonized protagonist's memories of a deceased woman. Throughout the narrative, the unnamed narrator’s emotional journey reflects the changes in his mind as well as the overall narrative. There are three sections in “The Raven,” most aptly described as the speaker…show more content…
Considered heaven-sent at first, the raven continues to say a single word, “nevermore.” This creates a sense of foreboding and desperation, as the narrator continues to grieve over Lenore. The speaker has a few main emotions in this section, those being frustration, fear, and depression and longing. The frustration comes from the narrator’s constant questioning of the bird revealing nothing but a singular word: nevermore. Fear of the bird is to be expected, as people fear anything that is unknown. The narrator knows nothing about the raven, other than it’s supposed name, nevermore(ll. 47-48), and is unsure about whether the bird is a blessing or a curse; heaven-sent, or hell-sent. This section predominantly contains the narrator’s curiosity concerning the raven. Among other stanzas containing further proof of curiosity, this has the…show more content…
In wondering about the raven, the narrator shows his curiosity, distracting him from loneliness and sadness. The difference between the first and second section is that in the first the speaker is mainly sad and confused, while in the second he is mostly curious. The third section of “The Raven” includes the breakdown of the narrator’s mind, and the conclusion to the poem. The raven’s constant repetition of the word “nevermore” brings the speaker to the verge of a psychotic break; proven by: “‘Wretch,’ I cried, ‘thy God hath lent thee—by these angels he hath sent thee // Respite—respite and nepenthe from thy memories of Lenore…’” (ll. 81-82) This was the beginning of the narrator’s breakdown, eventually leading to his own vocal assault on the bird:
“Be that word our sign of parting, bird or fiend!” I shrieked, upstarting—
“Get thee back into the tempest and the Night’s Plutonian shore!
Leave no black plume as a token of that lie thy soul hath spoken!
Leave my loneliness unbroken!—quit the bust above my
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