Symbolism In Poe's The Raven By Edgar Allan Poe

1285 Words 5 Pages
As Edgar Allan Poe wrote “The Raven”, he employed life events, as well as symbolism to mold the plot line. After an initial skim of the poem, the reader may believe that this is nothing more than a scary story to tell around Halloween time. At a second glance, it is revealed that “The Raven” is strung together by many life events, symbolisms, and emotions that are haunting in their own beautiful way. Upon looking at the rhetorical situation of it, the reader can get a better understanding of the poem’s true purpose. The setting, characters, and descriptive words Poe applied throughout his works are what give them a dark, mysterious tone. He carefully selects analogies and metaphors, which hold true to the theme of the writing, while telling …show more content…
The purpose of many of Poe’s stories is to entertain. Some may see his stories as a cry for help or financing. I choose to believe that his works are materializations of the pain and struggles he endured. Situations such as the loss of his parents, or his love (and cousin) Virginia often affected Poe’s works and gave them a more gothic tone. Therefore, it is often told around Halloween time to entertain family and friends. The purpose of a composition is often based on audience, but audience in an Edgar Allan Poe piece is always a tricky subject. Often times, Poe was under the influence of a substance while writing, or purely writing to get the stress of his crazy life out of his head and on to paper. He was not considering the audience, at most points in his writing career. It is quite clear to the reader, when Poe is writing and attempting to get things published, that his writing is forced and not as high quality. Because Poe was not writing for a specific audience, but rather himself, the stance of this writing is unfiltered, dark, and focused on the pain of losing someone you love. This poem’s media was originally paper, but, as it has come into the new age, it can be found on many different formats. This has affected the poem in that it has become much more accessible. The rhetorical situation of any story is crucial in order to completely understand …show more content…
The less obvious factor is what life events caused Poe to write “The Raven” in this tone. One of the most evident tragedies in Poe’s life is the massive loss of women, who were dear to his heart. Dawn Sova writes, “His young and beautiful mother died a slow and painful death due to tuberculosis…”(The Complete Tales and Poems…) and “Virginia”, Poe’s first wife, “died in 1847 of tuberculosis”(The Complete Tales and Poems…) These deaths were just the beginning of many loved ones passing. There is a theory that Lenore represents the women Poe lost in his life, and whom he ached to see again. There is also a theory that Lenore represents Poe’s childhood sweetheart, Sarah Elmira Royster, who he lost due to her father’s interference. Another aspect that greatly affected Poe’s writing in “The Raven” was his inner turmoil. Due to many tragic experiences, Poe had several severe mental illnesses. This led to both drug and alcohol abuse. An article from The Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore states, “The emotional strain of her illness, with its intermittent improvements and relapses, drove Poe to fits of depression and excessive drinking”(Edgar Allan Poe, Drugs, and Alcohol.) The weight of his losses and neglect drove him to a surplus of mental illnesses and addictions. These events and effects come through in “The Raven,” giving it a gothic tone. Much of Poe’s life had a monumental impact on his

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