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how poe and goethe create suspense and tension in their poems.

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Gothic poetry draft "Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary." (1) In this initial line from Edgar Allan Poe's "The Raven," the poet creates suspense because the person in the poem is thinking deeply. Pondering deep thoughts puts the reader in suspense because one wonders what those thoughts could possibly be. One's suspense is intensified by the fact the reader also does not know what is making the person in the poem "weak". Suspense and tension are common aspects of gothic literature. In "The Raven," the disheartened narrator is searching for a way to bring his deceased wife back from the dead by scanning through books of black magic. Suddenly, a raven enters the room, interrupting his thoughts. The narrator believes the raven possessing arcane knowledge can disclose the secret of effect, a reunion with Lenore. The Raven, however, answers with the enigmatic word 'nevermore.' The narrator is left in madness and, haunted by the raven's enigmatic words. In this essay, I will compare and contrast "The Raven," with another gothic poem, Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe's "The Erlking." I will also show how the two poets create suspense and tension in their poems by using a series of poetic devices. ...read more.


The Erlking creates suspense because the reader is not sure if the creature is real or whether it kills the boy. Poe similarly uses his characters to add to the suspense. In "The Raven" the antagonist or the conflict in the poem is the raven. "Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night's plutonian shore!" (47) "Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore." (48) The above quote shows how Poe expresses suspense in his poem. He does this because he leaves us in suspense to the true identity of the Raven at the end of lines 47 and 48. Similar to "The Erlking," one does not know whether the raven is real or whether it has supernatural powers. Another way that Poe and Goethe create tension is at the climax of the poems. Goethe's poem creates suspense at the end because it is not revealed whether the Erlking is real or whether the child was hallucinating. The reader is also not made aware of how the boy dies, leaving the reader's tension unrelieved. Reaching the house, in fear and dread: (31) But in his arms the child lies dead." (32) "But in his arms the child lies dead." ...read more.


Rhythm increases the suspense of the poem making one anticipate what is forthcoming. Both poets also embrace onomatopoeia in their poems to create suspense and tension. There are only two instances in which Goethe uses onomatopoeia in his poem. "...What the Erlking's whispering in my ear?" (14) The word "whispering" is clearly onomatopoeia, as the reader easily imagines he or she is listening to the words as spoken by the creature. The creature was speaking to entice him or her to accompany it further into the dark woods. Poe uses onomatopoeia far more frequently than Goethe does. "And so faintly you came tapping-tapping at my chamber door,"(22) The onomatopoeia word "tapping," creates sound imagery for the reader and might feel as though someone is tapping on their own door. They do not know who is tapping on the door so by creating sound imagery will make the reader feel as though they are in the poem, therefore creating suspense. In conclusion, both poets use similar techniques and poetic devices to create suspense and tension in their poems. Both poets use gothic atmospheres that have an equal effect on creating suspense and tension. However I think that Goethe's use of poetic devices are more effect than the use of Poe's poetic devices ?? ?? ?? ?? Amy.Savigar Mr.Swanson. 10G1 14/10/08 ...read more.

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