Romanticism, Poe, and The Raven
The era of Romanticism spans from the late 1700's to the mid 1800's
following the French Revolution; therefore, "Romanticism" encompasses
characteristics of the human mind in addition to the particular time in
history when these qualities became dominant in culture. Romanticism
depicts an artistic movement which emerged from reaction against dominant
attitudes and approaches of the 18th century. Romanticism established
realism in literature through creativity, innovation, exploration, and
vivid imagery. By expanding beyond the definition of love, Romanticism,
accented by mystery, delves into the strange and fantastic aspects of human
experiences. "To escape from society, the Romantics turned their interests
to remote and faraway places; the medieval past; folklore and legends, and
nature and the common man." Edgar Allen Poe is noted as one of the few
American "Romantic" poets. Poe's poem "The Raven" portrays Romanticism as
characterized by emotion, exotica, and imagination.
A friend of Edgar Allen Poe, R. H. Horne, wrote of "The Raven", "the
poet intends to represent a very painful condition of the mind, as of an
imagination that was liable to topple over into some delirium or an abyss
of melancholy, from the continuity of one unvaried emotion." Edgar Allen
Poe, author of "The Raven," played on the reader's emotions. The man in "
The Raven" was attempting to find comfort from the remembrance of his lost
love. By turning his mind to Lenore and recalling how her frame will never
again bless the chair in which he now reposes, he is suddenly overcome with
grief, whereby the reader immediately feels sorry for the lonely man. The
reader pities the man's state of mind.
In addition to an emotional characteristic, Poe also portrays the
exotic. Exotic means "unnatural". Exotic means a raven that speaks only
one word. Exotic means a bird that refuses to leave and insists in staying
in one place. Finally, exotic means a life of torment of the speakers soul.
The man is drawn to the bird to seek an answer to the monotonous reply of "
Finally, "The Raven: is characterized by imagination. The man
imagines that a raven is a godsend, intended to relieve him of his anguish.
The man imagines that like all other blessings of his life, the bird will
leave. The man's imagination rebukes the bird. The man calls the bird a "
thing of evil". The reader imagines a lonely, frightened, old man who has
suffered a great loss.
"The Raven is a poem written during the Romantic Era. Romanticism
doesn't mean that a literary work has to be about love. Ironically, "The
Raven" is both "romantic" and from the "Romantic" period. Poe's poem is
about a man's "lost love". The man's emotions causes him to become exotic
(shouting like a maniac for the bird to take its leave) and finally to
imagine all sorts of weird things (a raven that refuses to leave and speaks
only one word; "Nevermore").
Partner sites: Wedding Speeches