Macabre Diction In The Raven By Edgar Allan Poe

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“Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing, doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before,” wrote Edgar Allan Poe in his Gothic poem “The Raven.” Poe, born in 1809, was an American gothic poet and writer, who penned short stories such as “The Fall of the House of Usher,” “The Cask of Amontillado,” and “The Tell-Tale Heart.” Also among his oeuvre are the poems “Annabel Lee,” and “The Raven,” along with many other works. Poe’s gothic literature is infused with examples of macabre diction and advanced syntax. Poe is known worldwide today for his gothic style and dark themes, portrayed by grim diction and syntax that varies in both length and complexity in order to give insight on settings and characters. …show more content…
He is famous for his dark and often disturbing stories, and these probably stemmed from his life. Poe uses darkly descriptive diction in order to create settings, characters, and a deep plot. In his short story, “The Fall of the House of Usher,” Poe sets up a ghastly scene by creating an extremely unnerving setting. Poe describes “The decayed trees, and the dray wall, and the silent tarn-a pestilent and mystic vapor, dull, sluggish, faintly discernible, and leaden hued.” Through the imagery of the dreary setting, Poe can entrance the reader, pulling them into the story and making them feel as if they were the one out on the eerie grounds. This technique of Poe’s helps build the suspense of the story and engages the reader. In another short story, “The Tell-Tale Heart,” Poe uses figurative language to describe his motive in killing the old man. He compares the man to a universal fear when he says, “His eye was like the eye of a vulture, the eye of one of those terrible birds that watches and waits while an animal dies and then falls upon the dead body and tears it to pieces.” Poe’s description is an attempt to gain the readers sympathy. His ‘valid reason’ is merely an excuse to gain support. The passage also shows that the narrator’s mind is starting to fall apart because he considers an eye a reason for …show more content…
Poe doesn’t only use sophisticated structure, but instead, he shifts from long, complex sentences to short choppy ones, rising and falling with the plot and characters. Near the beginning of “The Tell-Tale Heart, Poe, as a narrator, says, “Then, carefully, I lifted the cloth, just a little, so that a single, thin, small light fell across that eye.” Here, Poe uses parallel structure to show the character is educated and sane, but he contrasts that later in the story, near the end, when he says agitatedly, “I stood up and walked quickly around the room. I pushed my chair across the floor to make more noise, to cover that terrible sound. I talked even louder.” This selection makes the narrator sound stressed, fearful, and insane, which is a vast difference from the beginning of the story. Poe’s syntax adds a layer of symbolism, as each sentence shows the degrees of madness the narrator travels through. In addition, and his poem “The Raven,” Poe uses repetition at the end of each of his stanzas to emphasize the eeriness of the scene. The immortalized quote from the poem comes both from the narrator and from the raven, ending each stanza of the second half of the poem with a chilling, “Nevermore.” The croaking of the word combined with the thoughts in the narrators head create suspense and fear. The narrator himself is agitated, then enraged, then fearful, all because of Poe’s grim repetition,

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