Rhetorical Analysis: the Raven
In January 1845, “The Raven” by Edgar Allen Poe was born, it was deemed one of Poe’s greatest poems. The purpose of “The Raven” was set around a man grieving for the love of Lenore. A raven land in the chamber of a mans home through the window. When asking the raven questions, the answers that he receives are only “Nevermore”. That being the only word the raven can speak it reminds him of his loss of Lenore. Edgar Allen Poe was a very dark poet, I believe that the purpose was to grieve over the loss of the mans love Lenore. He tries to read to sidetrack himself from the thought of losing her, when the Raven comes to talk to him. Since the Raven only says Nevermore, there is despair that is unending. The Raven representing the sadness through the whole poem.
The man that is unnamed, is reading and hears a knock at the door but for unknown reasons ignores the knocks. He tries to convince himself that nothing is there, he soon opens the door and whispers “Lenore?”. He hears tapping at the window and opens to find the Raven. When the Raven enters the room, he asks the Raven what its name is and the Raven responds “Nevermore”. The man then sits to find out why the bird is saying nevermore. Then the narrator starts asking the Raven question after question anxiously trying to find the reason that it is here. There has to be a sign behind him being here.
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At first thought, you may think that this poem is ethos-based poem, since Poe is a well-established poet and writer. When you start reading the poem though it becomes very clear that this is more of a pathos: emotional writing. The story behind the poem being about a struggle that a man goes through when he losses his beloved Lenore. The poem begins and ends with the focus being on his loss. When the raven enters the poem is when you can hear the man’s sorrow, he questions the reason of why the raven is here. He starts to think of the raven as the devil, thinking that the raven came to torment him over the loss of Lenore. I think that you can feel the emotion just emitting from the man, from start to finish.
The terminology is a great contributor to pathos in this piece as well. The language that is used is very dynamic, which allows the poem to be viewed the way that Poe intended. Poe is constantly discussing darkness, somber, and depressing words which makes his tone perceptible: “Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing… The silence was unbroken, and the darkness gave no token” (25, 27). He also refers to the raven as “the bird of ill omen”. The audience isn’t left guessing and can get a better understanding, which allows for a greater bond for the story, and what its meaning is behind it. The poem depends on the rhyming, which gives the poem a sing song feel, allowing a deeper connection with the audience. Which helps with connecting to the audience since it is a piece to be experienced instead of just read.
The way that “Nevermore” is used repeatedly in the poem is rather depressing but has many meanings through the piece. The speaker seems to feel scornful towards the raven. The raven does not literally have his beak in the lover’s heart, but the response of “nevermore” has damaged the lover emotionally. The raven ends each of the statements with “Nevermore”, which shows Poe’s fear of change and removal from isolation. For instance, the line “Leave my loneliness unbroken! – quit the bust above my door! / Take thy beak out of my heart and take thy form from off my door!” (100-101). Poe then becomes paranoid, defensive, and emotional. Poe keeps telling himself that living in isolation is a way to keep living. He uses pathos to support an argument in a way to justify the choices that he has made. Poe’s use of tone, metaphors and other tools to support the ideas he chooses it outstanding and well done.
Poe uses ethos in his poem to make it feel more relatable, in this case it was to find people that have issues with letting go, but also that ignore their past. Nearing the end of the poem I feel that you hear Poe’s voice show through as it leads up to an outburst. “leave my loneliness unbroken” (100). It seems to not just be any expression, but one that he was trying to guard and keep deep down within himself all along. Showing just how isolated he is and how the raven representing that the loneness has gotten to him. Going back to pathos now, Poe may have felt the after losing Lenore, that isolation was the only way to keep living. The best way to describe that being lonely is the way to live is when the speaker introduces Lenore as “Nameless here for evermore”. (11)
(Death is a large part of this piece, it shows effects of death on the living, mourning and memories that still are in the minds of those alive. Death is in the beginning of the piece when the man is in the dark mourning the lose of his Lenore, seeming though to be a distraction from the pain. Which is something that many people do to escape then pain of reality, which can relate to pathos. When calling to the door when knocked on, hoping that it would be Lenore coming back. The desperation of having her back is apparent, just like in life that the emotion is strong and the urge to have a loved one back even though we know its not possible, it’s a very strong emotion. This poem is very dark and sad and pulls at the heart string of desperation to have a loved one back because we can all, or mostly all relate to wanting some one back, to the point you would almost do anything to have them back. )