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Commentary on Change in Poe’s The Raven


Track something that changes over the course of the poem. What does this change represent?

In the poem “The Raven” by Edgar Allan Poe, it is very easy to find the various changes over the course of the poem. The three easiest changes found are the narrator’s thoughts about Lenore, the narrator’s attitude towards the Raven and the narrator’s emotional state. I am going to focus on how the narrator changed over the course of the poem about Lenore. At the beginning of the poem he couldn’t get over her death, and misses her but he changes and his memories about her should be forgotten and decides to stop thinking about her but after two stanzas he mentions Lenore again. This can symbolize how human cannot control his or her self especially about love.

It is evident that Lenore is someone that the narrator loved or still loves. In this poem, Lenore can be the most important character than the Raven because she was the reason that the narrator was up until midnight to stop thinking about her and forget Lenore. When he describes why he is reading books to surcease the sorrow which is the “sorrow for the lost Lenore”. On the second stanza, Lenore is known by the angels, this means that she is no longer alive and the narrator describes she is rare and radiant. He is already missing Lenore from the beginning. Than he continues to discuss Lenore, he cannot stop thinking about her and her names echoes back from the 5th stanza. He is saying her name aloud to show his grief. In addition, in 13th stanza, the narrator even sees Lenore sitting on the cushion where “she shall press nevermore”. He starts to see fantasizes and memories of where Lenore used to be. Until last few stanzas, the narrator describes the longing of Lenore. This can mean that Human cannot forget a person or people who he/she loved.

The narrator suddenly changes on the 14th stanza just after he sees Lenore sitting on a cushion, he fantasizes about forgetting her and even describes that her memories are a curse and wants desperately to forget the memories about Lenore. Moreover, he will stop thinking about Lenore. However, his decision does not go long and just after two stanzas, he mentions Lenore and repeats that Lenore is rare, radiant and she is with angels. When the narrator was fantasizing and memorizing her, he describes Lenore as a “Sainted maiden”, which means an ideal and perfected person. Now he describes her as an angel when 2 stanzas above he said it was curse. This again shows that Human cannot forget his or her lovers.

By the narrator in the poem “The Raven”, Edgar might want to describe how human cannot be controlled by ourselves about the love. Like the narrator in “The Raven”, human will be very melancholy when we lose someone that we have loved but we will be missing them and longing them for so long. Even though we want to forget the memories about her we cannot control ourselves and just live on with the memories about the lover and the grief.