The Use of Mood in Edgar Allan Poe's "The Raven"

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About this sample


Words: 523 |

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3 min read

Published: Jun 14, 2024

Words: 523|Page: 1|3 min read

Published: Jun 14, 2024

Edgar Allan Poe, one of the most influential American writers of the 19th century, was known for his dark and mysterious tales. His poem, "The Raven," is a masterpiece that showcases his exceptional ability to create a haunting and melancholic mood. In this essay, we will explore the various techniques Poe employs to establish and enhance the mood of the poem, ultimately captivating the reader's emotions and imagination.

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One of the key elements that contribute to the mood of "The Raven" is its vivid and descriptive language. Poe carefully chooses his words to create a sense of gloom and despair. For instance, in the opening lines, he describes the setting as a "midnight dreary," immediately setting a somber tone. The repeated use of words such as "bleak," "ghostly," and "grim" further reinforces the melancholic atmosphere throughout the poem.

Poe's skillful use of imagery also plays a significant role in establishing the mood. He paints a vivid picture of the narrator's desolate chamber, with its "ebony bird" perched upon a "bust of Pallas." This image not only adds to the overall gloominess but also introduces an element of mystery and foreboding. The raven itself, with its "fiery eyes," is a symbol of darkness and death, contributing to the eerie atmosphere that pervades the poem.

Furthermore, the rhythm and meter of "The Raven" contribute greatly to its mood. Poe utilizes a trochaic octameter, a specific poetic meter that adds a sense of urgency and intensity to the poem. This rhythmic pattern, combined with the repetition of certain phrases like "nevermore," creates a haunting and hypnotic effect on the reader. The monotonous beat of the poem mirrors the narrator's descent into madness, intensifying the overall mood of despair and hopelessness.

In addition to language and imagery, Poe employs symbolism to enhance the mood of "The Raven." The raven itself represents a variety of themes, including death, loss, and the narrator's descent into madness. Its constant repetition of the word "nevermore" serves as a reminder of the narrator's inability to escape his sorrow and grief. This symbolism adds depth to the poem's mood, leaving the reader with a sense of unease and melancholy.

Moreover, the use of sound devices, such as alliteration and internal rhyme, contributes to the overall mood of the poem. Poe's careful selection of words and their arrangement creates a musicality that enhances the sense of despair and loneliness. For example, in the lines "And the silken sad uncertain rustling of each purple curtain," the repetition of the "s" sound and the internal rhyme of "uncertain" and "curtain" add a haunting quality to the description, further immersing the reader in the poem's mood.

In conclusion, Edgar Allan Poe's "The Raven" is a masterpiece of mood, utilizing various literary techniques to create a haunting and melancholic atmosphere. Through his vivid and descriptive language, powerful imagery, rhythmic meter, symbolism, and skillful use of sound devices, Poe captivates the reader's emotions and imagination. The poem's mood of gloom, despair, and madness is expertly crafted, leaving a lasting impression on anyone who encounters this timeless work of literature.

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Poe, Edgar Allan. "The Raven." The Complete Tales and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe. Random House, 2015.

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Dr. Charlotte Jacobson

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The Use of Mood in Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven”. (2024, Jun 14). GradesFixer. Retrieved July 20, 2024, from
“The Use of Mood in Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven”.” GradesFixer, 14 Jun. 2024,
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