Gothic Insanity In The Raven By Edgar Allan Poe

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George R.R Martin, an American novelist, once said, “Love is madness and lust is poison.” Yet, the loss of the same love can oftentimes leave people in a state of anguish. In the poem “The Raven” by Edgar Allan Poe, the protagonist is trapped in melancholia after the loss of his wife Lenore. The author uses two gothic conventions; decay and emotion to manifest the main character’s madness driven by grief.

The gothic convention of decay demonstrated how sorrow prompted the protagonists’ madness. At the beginning of the poem, the protagonist was under a melancholic state of mind, tired and worn out with grief. He stated that, “From my books surcease of sorrow—sorrow for the lost Lenore— / For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name
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The poem encompasses several emotions such as anger and sorrow. This is portrayed when the protagonist is “Deep into that darkness peering, long [he] stood there wondering, fearing, / Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before; / But the silence was unbroken, and the stillness gave no token, / And the only word there spoken was the whispered word, ‘Lenore?’” (Poe, 25-28). After the miserable demise of his loved one, the main character is constricted in a figment of his imagination where he still continues to have hope in the return of Lenore. This is proven when he calls out Lenore's name as if she were to return from the dead, this indicates his state of despair as he slowly loses his grip on reality and sanity. Another example of emotion leading to madness driven by grief is, when the protagonist wishes to seek answers from a raven about Lenore yet, he fails to get any. Frustrated he tells the raven, “Prophet!...thing of evil!—prophet still, if bird or devil!” (Poe, 91) and then, “Quoth the Raven ‘Nevermore.’” (Poe, 96). The use of exclamation marks demonstrates the frustration and uncontrollable emotions within the protagonist. He is hallucinating as he speaks with a raven at his door and asking about Lenore which shows how far his thought has travelled beyond the realm of this world. The raven surely leaves a psychological impact on him as the answer “Nevermore” confuses him and makes him feel hopeless that he can never reach Lenore through this “bird or devil”. Overall, the author used the gothic convention emotion to exhibit the protagonists emotional and mental breakdown triggered by this loss of his loved one

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