Lost Love and Death in “The Raven” by Edgar Allan Poe

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Death and lost love. Two of the hardest things people face in life and two of the most elusive and mysterious topics to write about, particularly within poetry. Some writers find it hard to effectively write about these topics due to the pain and angst one may face at the thought of the ideas, perhaps due to personal experience with them. On the other hand, some writers may simply feel it’s a daunting task due to the level of advanced writing that often stems from poems depicting scenes such as these. Dark topics are often harder to properly construct within a piece due to the great amount of detail, which must be put into every aspect.

One of the most well known writers for dark topics is Edgar Allan Poe. Most, if not all, of Poe’s pieces often have an underlying dark or ominous theme, which is conveyed through his great use of, and attention to, detail? One particular poem that is famous for having a theme about death and love is “The Raven,” in which Poe is grieving over his past love, Lenore. Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven” tastefully and effectively conveys the theme of death and lost love to the reader through his elaborate writing style and creative use of vivid imagery.

The most obvious notion that this poem will pertain to death is within the title of the poem itself. Ravens are often symbols of death in many cultures and throughout the piece a raven makes multiple appearances; most of switch seems to signify impending death. Beginning in lines 38-40, the raven first appears which can be interpreted as a sign of death soon coming.

Move forward to line 45 and an allusion to the raven is made which again makes the reader sense an impending peril for some. Finally, in line 105, readers see the Raven one more time, which can be interpreted as death having done its job and preparing to leave. The use of the raven and its cultural ties to death helped Poe to create the allusion of death without merely mentioning it every time. The allusion of the raven and death helped to create the ominous tone of the piece and also helped subtly let the readers know about the impending future for Lenore. While the piece itself focalizes on death primarily, there is also an aspect of love intertwined.

Poe writes about his past love Lenore who was also his first love. Poe introduces her in lines 10-11, highlighting his love for her and his true feelings. In line 83, Poe begins to think of forgetting her; potentially signifying something is going to or has already happened to her. Lenore is only mentioned one more time, in lines 94-95, afterwards, she isn’t mentioned anymore in the piece, which can be interpreted as her disappearing or death. Lenore played a significant role in setting a tone for love in the poem but also seemed to be a pawn in the overall idea of love lost to death.

The Raven discusses topics that do pertain to mental health issues and problems. He also does mention the use of hallucinogens; drugs that cause hallucinations, to help get rid of sadness.

Particularly, in lines 82-83, a drug by the name of Nepenthe, is mentioned as a drug to help rid sadness similar to a hallucinogen. This mentioning of drugs as a form of coping not only helps drive the dark theme of the piece but also helps to tie the reader emotionally to the piece and create a sad feeling.

Writing a piece of poetry pertaining to dark topics such as death and lost love are often tricky for many writers due to the attention of detail and allusion and elaboration required of them. Poe’s ability to do so in his piece The Raven not only shows his skills as a writer but also helps the reader understand his main message. Overall, the piece has a dark tone to it, and through the mentioning of his past lover, drugs, and utilizing the allusion of death in a raven all help the piece to achieve. What would one do if they found themselves in the situation this piece puts the protagonist in? No one truly knows, as everyone is different yet some speculation upon this can make one view the world in an entirely different way.

Two of the hardest things people face in life is lost love and death. These are two very common themes in Edgar Allen Poe’s poetry. It can be hard to write about these topics because of the emotions it might bring up. However, for a poet like Poe it seems to come naturally. Darker meanings in poetry tend to be more blunt rather than hidden in poetry. Poe is a master of these topics and “The Raven” is no different. Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven” tastefully and effectively conveys the theme of death and lost love to the reader through his elaborate writing style and creative use of vivid imagery.


Cite this paper

Lost Love and Death in “The Raven” by Edgar Allan Poe. (2021, Jun 19). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/lost-love-and-death-in-the-raven-by-edgar-allan-poe/

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