Sunday, January 15, 2012


Edgar Allan Poe's poem The Raven is a perfect example of Dark Romanticism. It is depressing and tormented in all of the right ways, and it has several other characteristics of Romanticism writing, like the innocence of the narrator of the poem.
The real difference between normal Romanticism and Dark Romanticism is how troubling the themes and characters are. In The Raven the theme is how terrifying it is to think that once people die they are gone from the rest of us forever, never to be seen again. When the narrator of the poem asks the raven if he will ever again see his love, Lenore, the raven replies "Nevermore" (Poe 96). After such reply, the narrator goes into a kiniptsion, and then is forever haunted by the demonic raven perched above his door. That is a horrifying thing to think of, and really not pleasant thing to write poetry about.
According to Christine Krueger, one of the most defining feature of Dark Romanticism writing is the "dark, troubled, solitary protagonists." The Raven definitly has one, considering that the narrattor finds nothing better to do with his time than sit all by his bonny lonesome in his study mourning his lost lover. If that is not the picture of troubled and solitary, then there is no such picture in existence.
One of the most important parts of Romantic writing is the innocence of the main characters. Despite the rather meloncholy nature of the main character, he also is wonderfully innocent in his own way. Despite the ominous nature of the raven, he still finds it terrible entertaining, and it makes him smile before it starts tormenting him with its ceasless answer of "nevermore" (Poe 67). That such a strange appearance was able to tickle his fancy and make his troubled heart smile shows his innocence despite his depressing life story.
There is a certain element of the exotic in The Raven, as a talking raven is a slightly strange thing to see. Normally Romanticism writings have exotic locations, but an exotic creature or two often make an appearance. Romanticism is based off of the irrational and mystical, and a dark, talking raven does seem rather mystical.
According to Harold Bloom, the raven's perch also holds some unique significance in the poem. The raven perches on a bust of Pallas, a Godess of wisdom and intellect. As the poem goes on, and the narrator's terrors grows more and more fierce. Quite soon, his terror overcomes his reason, and he is evermore lost in his woeful mourning. This is very consistent with the Romanticism style because the style values emotion, and really has little affection for reason.
Frequently, Romantic style poets would use an interesting meter and rhyme scheme. The Raven is no exception here, as the second, fourth, fifth, and sixth lines rhyme, while the first and third rhyme internally. The meter is consistant in all lines except the last in each stanza, which is shorter. The interesting rhyme and meter gives it a wonderful cadence that begs to be sped to a frenzied pitch.
Bloom, Harold, ed. "'The Raven'." Edgar Allan Poe, Bloom's Major Poets. Philadelphia: Chelsea House Publishing, 1999. Bloom's Literary Reference Online. Facts On File, Inc. Web. 16 Jan. 2012. BMPEAP19&SingleRecord=True.
Krueger, Christine, ed. "Romanticism." Encyclopedia of British Writers, 19th Century, vol. 1. New York: Facts On File, Inc., 2002. Bloom's Literary Reference Online. Facts On File, Inc. Web. 16 Jan. 2012. GEBWIXX351&SingleRecord=True.
Poe, Edgar. "Edgar Allan Poe: The Raven." Heise Online IT-News, C't, IX, Technology Review, Telepolis. Web. 16 Jan. 2012. .

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