The Raven: Poem of Madness? Lost Love? A Rhapsody of Musical Genius?

THE SIMPSONS – The Raven (Treehouse of Horror I) – 8 Translation(s) | dotSUB – Online Crowdsourced Video Translation.

The homework was to read Poe’s The Raven. Here’s a great video from of the poem, which only cuts out just a few stanzas–so follow along with your book!  When you finish understanding the poem, create an argument from one of the three points below. You may not choose two or combine parts of one into another.  Please choose only one and create an argument in five to seven sentences in Standard English.

1. Poe creates a poem that represents the madness of an individual.

2. “The Raven” dramatizes the feelings of a speaker who suffers from missing his lover, Lenore.

3. Poe uses this opportunity to create language that has musical quality. The structured stanzas, the use of repetition, and the musical quality of word choice, all suggest that Poe loves to play with language.

PS: Extra Credit to anyone who is able to recite the first six stanzas in class. Reward will be an “A” coupon redeemable on any time management assessment, such as a reading or vocabulary quiz.  Here’s a good link:

About Bill Sullivan

I am an English teacher working with great students at Suffield Academy. I also teach seniors in various project-based learning environments. Some of the #PBL topics included global issues, such as Pandemics, Climate Change, and Water; more recently I have asked students to research and identify topics important to our school community and their generation. We curate these topics with a #StudentCenteredPBL. For the past eleven years, I also created a driving question for a class to research a local history mystery and present their findings in a community program partnering with our local historical society. These topics encompass researching the lives of enslaved individuals who were contributors to the foundation of our community.
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13 Responses to The Raven: Poem of Madness? Lost Love? A Rhapsody of Musical Genius?

  1. maxmanes says:

    Poe’s poem strongly dramatizes the feelings of a speaker who is missing his lover. The second stanza of the poem dives directly into the sorrow of dealing with lost Lenore. He continues to talk about how great of a person she was and how she will be missed. He talks about how the only words he can speak are that of his beloved Lenore. He personifies the raven and the only words the raven says are nevermore, which stands for the non existence of Lenore. The raven keeps bringing memories back of Lenore. This raven dramatizes Lenore being dead and keeps reminding the speaker of his lost Lenore.

  2. Miles Portman says:

    Poe’s poem represents the madness of a individual, The narrator in the poem is missing his long lost love. He is thinking deeply about this woman and he starts to think that this raven is speaking to him. As he talks to this raven the raven only says one word to him. This makes the narrator of the story go more and more insane. This poem represents the madness of a individual because it shows how thinking too much about something your sad about can make you see or think things that are not real.

  3. Mikhail Kozak says:

    I am not really sure in my answer, but In my opinion Poe’s poem truly represents the madness of individual. I think that the man is frightened by the raven not because it is scary-looking or whatever. But because his imagination is playing a trick on him. Also i think that the whole dialog had never happen between them. It is all in the man’s head. He cannot stop thinking of his love Lenore that died, and maybe that dramatizes even more. He scares himself, in a fight inside of him. He is sure that he will never be happy.
    Nevermore, nevermore…

  4. Patrick Coombs says:

    Poe’s poem reflects a life of a man who is haunted by loneliness and can not grow out of it. Darkness is a re-occurring word throughout the poem. Also, Poe depicts the sounds of somone knocking on the door, but when the speaker opens up, no one is there.”Tis some visiter entreating entrance at my chamber door-” “Darknes there, and nothing more.” That reflects on his thoughts of finding a love life or a person who takes a similar interest in him/her.

  5. Poe’s poem clearly represents the madness of an individual. He uses the Romanticism mysterious and gothic characteristics. During the entire work, there is a mystery to know who is behind the door. The raven is also a dark bird, which creates this kind of dark mystery, and the supernatural skill to talk. This passages show us that all the actions are made by the man’s mind, who misses his dead lover. The man interacts with the raven, which makes him to think about Lenore. At the same time, the raven is telling him, with only one word: “nevermore”, that she will never come back.

  6. The speaker in Poe’s poem exhibits his loneliness metaphorically through the use of darkness, emphasized by the month of December, which lacks, warmth and sunlight. It is implied that his solitude draws root when his lover dies, which Poe symbolically portrays with embers. This loneliness and desperation drives the speaker mad, yearning for his lost love. As he sleeps, weary of a weak soul, his “soul grew stronger” (line 19) allowing him minimal hope. In this hopeless prayer for salvation, he romanticizes about his most sought out fantasies in his dreams, reuniting with his love, Lenore. At the end, the speaker realizes that it was nothing more than a figment of his imagination, his soul cursed to loneliness.

  7. CPascoe1 says:

    In Poe’s poem, the man’s feelings are completely dramatized due to a missing lover. The man goes to every extent to try and have his lover, Lenore. Due to the fact of extreme loneliness, the man is turning into a life filled with madness. He is hearing knocking, yet no one is there. Also, the man finds himself talking to a one word response raven, “nevermore”. He will take every measure in life to try and have his lover back, but until then, he will be a lonely man.

  8. nick hudson says:

    In Poe’s poem, the speaker starts out by being by himself searching for his lost lover. He is alone in the darkness and hears his own echo come back to him when he calls. With this feeling of being lonely comes the feeling of madness, and that’s what the man experiences trapped in this dark open place. The “raven” is driving him insane and constantly plays games on him. Trapped in his own mind, he must find a way out from this demonic creature.

  9. jport22 says:

    Edgar Allan Poe uses the Raven to show off his tremendous ability to make a passage seem like a song or poem. The repetition, and effective use of the words, “nevermore,” and many others not only flow beautifully with the content of the poem, but they also keep the reader interested in the sense that the reader is being entertained more than just reading a regular passage. Another way that Poe makes “The Raven” look and sound like a song is his clever use of stanzas. Stanzas are very common in songs, and Poe incorporates this into “The Raven”. In the last stanza of “The Raven,” Poe changes the last line from “quoth the raven, nevermore,” to “shall be lifted-nevermore!” in order to conclude this harmonic poem.

  10. Jacqueline Autuori says:

    Poe creates a poem that represents the madness of an individual. The man in this poem is awakened from a nap by “a tapping on his door”. No one is there and he starts calling for his lost love, Lenore. His longing for her is obviously haunting him. He refers to the raven that appears at his door as “a prophet”, “a thing of evil”, “a bird”, and “the devil”. He wants this bird to bring Lenore back to him, or bring him to her, which shows how mad he has become.

  11. Aphra says:

    1. Poe creates the madness of an individual through his internal conflict with losing his wife. His grief for the loss of his wife causes him to see and feel things that are more insane than the usual individual. The raven signifies his internal conflict, which is surfacing through his grief for his wife. “From my books surcease of sorrow- sorrow for the lost Lenore- For the rare and beautiful maiden whom the angels name Lenore”(p.1537, 10-12). In the poem Poe shows how the speaker is struggling with the loss of his loved one Lenore. “Other friends have flown before- on the morrow he will leave me, as my hopes have flown before. Quoth the Raven “Nevermore””(1538,58-30). The raven symbolizes his internal grieving and loneliness that he feels after he lost Lenore and shows us how the grief is driving him to madness.

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