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Thread: Edgar Allen Poe "The Raven"

  1. #1
    :) Stephweet :) stephofthenight's Avatar
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    Edgar Allen Poe "The Raven"

    i would like to discuss what these two stanzas of Edgar Allen Poes' the raven mean to everyone else and why, also why do you think he structured them in the order and phrasing he did, so that it seems that he is sure its nothing, but that he calls out to someone?




    And the silken sad uncertain rustling of each purple curtain
    thrilled me, filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before;
    so that now, to still the beating of my heart, i stood repeating
    "tis some vistitor entreating entrance at my chamber door--
    some late cisitor entreating entrance at my chamber door;--
    this is it- and nothing more"

    presently my heart grew stronger; hesitating then no longer,
    sir said I or madam, truely your forgiveness i miplore;
    but the fact is i was napping and so gently you came rapping,
    so fainly you came tapping, tapping at my chamber door,
    that i scarce was sure i heard you"--here i opened wide the door;
    darkness there and nothing more

    "Be careful of quotes you find on the internet, they may not always be true" -Abraham Lincon-

  2. #2
    Vincit Qui Se Vincit Virgil's Avatar
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    Steph I would have to read the poem again to be fully confident of what i'm saying, so take this with that in mind. I think the structure of the poem follows a process of getting deeper and deeper into the narrator's mind so that we understand how disturbed and emotionally sensitive he is. I think this stanza really gets into his mind:
    And the silken sad uncertain rustling of each purple curtain
    thrilled me, filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before;
    so that now, to still the beating of my heart, i stood repeating
    "tis some vistitor entreating entrance at my chamber door--
    some late cisitor entreating entrance at my chamber door;--
    this is it- and nothing more"
    And then next stanza he pulls his courage up to conflict against the bird:
    presently my heart grew stronger; hesitating then no longer,
    sir said I or madam, truely your forgiveness i miplore;
    but the fact is i was napping and so gently you came rapping,
    so fainly you came tapping, tapping at my chamber door,
    that i scarce was sure i heard you"--here i opened wide the door;
    darkness there and nothing more
    If he didn't pull his courage up Poe would have had to make him run away from fear. So if Poe wants to get to a real intense climax, he can't just have the narrator run away but h's got to find a way for the intensity to continue.

    If I get a chance i'll try to read the poem tonight and give a more informed opinion.
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    I agree wih Virgil. The narrator is grieving his lost Lenore and also reading scary stories at midnight. So the sound frightens him. I think we can all relate: in the middle of a scary movie on TV, we hear the dog yawn and our heart jumps!

    In the next stanza, the narrator is trying to collect himself to answer the knocking that he thinks he heard. He calls out to the person he thinks is knocking, apologizing an lying about having been napping, so that he will not appear to the caller to be frightened. I think the whole action of hearing a knock, answering the door, and finding no one there is symbolic of his grief: he wants to see Lenore, and he even looks for her, but she is not there. In the following stanza, he even calls out to her out the door into the darkness. After that, his grief gets even worse, as evidenced by the big ugly bird (his grief) flying in and perching forever in his house. Just as the bird does not leave, he believes his grief and pain will never end.

  4. #4
    The Poetic Warrior Dark Muse's Avatar
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    The way I read the stanza, and based upon the very first stanza that I think helps set the mood, it seems to me, that he is trying to convince himself that it is only a visitor comming to see him, and not perhaps some ghostly apperation, for the way in which he repeats tis some visitor and nothing more, it is almost as if he says it as a mantra to convince himself.

    For in the stanza just before the one you post, he mentions how he just remberes that is is a black December, and he has lost his Lenore, and after that he mentions how the curtain is rustling, and it both thrills him and fills him with fear.

    So I think in this, perhaps a part of him is both hoping and afraid that it is the ghost of his Lenore that has come upon him, and so he tells himself, it is only some nightly visitor and nothing more.

    Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing, doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before. ~ Edgar Allan Poe

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    Registered User The Beard's Avatar
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    It is late and I am a little tired, so I just want to point out a small thing.

    I could be wrong, but 'silken sad uncertain curtain' seems like a sibilant phrase, alliterating the sound of the curtains actually ruffling; it also gives the impression of eeriness.

    Just thought I would mention it, because it is a effective in emphasising the psychological paranoia present at that very moment. Hope that was interesting for some.
    And at last I resolved to scale that tower, fall though I might; since it were better to glimpse the sky and perish, than to live without ever beholding day

    The Call of the Cthulu - HP Lovecraft

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    Registered User Epistemophile's Avatar
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    i was watching the 1963 version of 'the raven' which is only loosely based upon the poem. it's cheesy.
    about the poem, the 'o' sound (as repeatedly emphasized in 'nevermore', 'forgotten lore', 'door') that pervades the entire poem helps create an atmosphere of insufferable gloom, the feeling of an eternal loss perpetuating itself all the time. The bird can be symbolic of death, the first appearance of which unnerves the narrator,accepeted gradually and understatedly. The poem ends with the raven that 'still is sitting' which would suggest a kind of death-in-life.

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    Lost in the Fog PabloQ's Avatar
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    It may not be fair to the poem to take these two stanzas out of context, but they are mood setting. The establish the narrator's frame of mind. He's alone and in mourning and he isn't expecting anyone. Disturbed from his ruminations or his nap by this rapping, he is disturbed by the rustling of the curtains. He's edgy. He's nervous. Just the curtains. Nothing more. He then applies logic to the situation and assumes the rapping was on the door, but encouraged by that he opens it and no one is there.

    There is a real sense of the narrator's state of mind prepatory to the entrance of the bird. And what might be interpreted as normal events on a dark December night after recently loosing your beloved start to take on a suggestion of something else.
    No damn cat, no damn cradle - Newt Honniker

  8. #8
    Registered User Dipen Guha's Avatar
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    The poem opens with the word "Once" thereby distancing the event to a long past as in grand mother's fairy tale. At the end, the raven is shown to be before the lover for all time. It makes the raven more than a bird, an emblem, a symbol of mournful and never-ending remembrance of the beloved. At the start the lover fears even the raven may fly away like other friends. Even then the bird says, " Nevermore". It is only at the end we see the full significance. As we have seen already, at the end beginning the lover wants to forget his grief. At the end he sees no end of it. The complexity in the movement along with a number of suggestions not perhaps forming a part of his conscious design gives the poem its value.

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