"The Raven" by Edgar A. Poe - oral commentary.

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“the raven” by edgar a. poe

oral commentary


Edgar allen poe is said to have implied that writing “the raven” was a methodical process, like solving a math problem, and that he wrote the end of it first and filled in the beginning afterwards. He also told one reporter that he had written “the raven” in a feverish passion over a couple of days... and someone else that it had laid on his desk for 10 years.

What ever method he used (pause) the poem is regarded as a classic and loved by all age groups which leads me to introduce my guiding question which is: what effect does this poem have on different age groups? But I will answer that (pause) once I summarise the poem for you.

Firstly, the poem is written in the first person from the perspective of an unnamed man, which could be referring to Poe himself or a make-believe character. The man is mourning his dead lover. Around the time the poem was published Poe’s own wife Virginia was dying of tuberclusosis, which is further proof Poe, could be referring to himself.

(sad tone) The narrator is sitting alone in a room (pause) reading many volumes of books in an effort to distract himself. His thoughts however, (pause) continue to roam back to his love Lenore, as he sits in a room she frequented and (watch) which is full of his memories of her.

The main theme is one of romantic horror involving many references to the heaven, hell and the devil. It is best described as a darkly romantic classic using the full range of Poe’s dramatic talent.

-The tone and subject of the poem are sadness and beauty. When Poe decided to write this poem, he wanted to write about beauty because it evokes the most positive effect. For everyone understands the passion and excitement of Beauty.

-The tone used is one of ‘sadness’. Beauty of whatever kind, when well illustrated, invariably excites the sensitive soul to tears. Melancholy is thus the most legitimate of all the poetic tones to be used here. In his mind the saddest most beautiful event would be the death of a beautiful woman. (Pause question?) And who best to convey the story then her bereaved lover?

(slow down!)

The poem’s very first verse plunges straight into many poetic techniques evoking the reader to feel the theme of frightful horror. Alliteration, rhythm, and rhyme are amoung the most prevalent techniques. It goes:

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,

Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore -

While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,

As of some one gently rapping - rapping at my chamber door.

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"'Tis some visitor," I muttered, "tapping at my chamber door -

                                  Only this and nothing more."

This tapping at his chamber door continues until the male character dares to open his door but what he expects - a sir or madam knocking lightly on his door so as not to wake him – is not there.

  • The continuous words such as (pause) “wondering, fearing, doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dare to dream…” and the rhythm accompanied, which continues thru out the piece ...

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