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Once Upon A Midnight Dreary, As I Pondered Ambiguity…

1532 words - 7 pages

"The Raven" is a beautifully written, yet dark narrative poem by the American writer Edgar Allan Poe. First published on January 29, 1845, it marks Poe’s opening the door into recognition. It tells of a talking raven's mysterious visit to a grieving lover, outlining the man's slow fall into madness. "The Raven" was first accredited to Poe in print in the New York Evening Mirror. Its publication made Poe widely popular in his lifetime, yet brought him no financial attainment. Soon reprinted, mocked, and illustrated—opinion is divided as to the poem's standing, but it nonetheless it remains one of the most famous poems ever written. The poem itself contains mystery, laid out by his style. His ...view middle of the document...

The ambiguity of the word seems almost absent, for it is apparent that Poe, when writing of the soul, is writing of it pertaining to its definition. Yet with analysis, the soul could be denoted as so much more. A second denotation could be his inner emotions. As he states, “…all my soul within me burning” and “…my soul grew stronger…” (Poe) it could represent his inner emotions, namely fear of the raven and what it has to say, growing and churning within him.
Angels are defined as spiritual beings believed to act as attendants, agents, or messengers of God, conventionally represented in human form with wings and a long robe. The angel, or angels, may be one of the most ambiguous words Poe uses, for it has many given meanings. Some of these meanings may be purity, love, faith, courage, compassion, consolation, perseverance, and protection. Poe mainly mentions angels when speaking of his lost Lenore, “…sorrow for the lost Lenore -For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore –”. The angels could represent the purity and beauty of the Lenore—implying how she was unbefitting to pass. They could also represent the protection of Lenore from the evils of Hell, and the consolation of the narrator in that his Lenore is safe and with the angels in Heaven.
A chamber is defined as a large room used for formal or public events. Poe uses the chamber as the setting of the poem. A chamber, besides the obvious definition, may also have multiple meanings such as the inner self, the inner subconscious, loneliness, and isolation. Poe mentions the chamber mainly in the same ways as the first introduction of it, “While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping, As of someone gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door. `'Tis some visitor,' I muttered, `tapping at my chamber door - Only this, and nothing more.'” (Poe). The chamber may be used to represent the mind, whereas the raven could represent truth rapping on the mind. The narrator asks many questions in which he already knows the answers to, and most of which the answers are not what he wants to hear—but the truth is painful, and will come knocking. The chamber in which the narrator is positioned, may be used to signify the loneliness of the man, and the sorrow he feels for the loss of Lenore. The room is richly furnished, and reminds the narrator of his lost love, creating grief. The chamber could also represent his isolation in his grief, and how he is trapped in his emotions and his mind.
The word nevermore is defined as at no future time; never again. Or in simpler terms, no. Although the ambiguity of the word is not apparent, the word may represent a couple possible symbols in the poem. Contained within the refrain is the word, “Quoth the raven, `Nevermore.'” The word could represent the lack of reasoning in the narrators mind and how he actually thinks the bird is some sort of prophet in whose word is true. The word may also denote the narrator’s insanity—he continues,...

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