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The function of symbolism in Poe’s The Raven

In Poe's The Raven, symbolism serves to affirm man's destiny. The colour of the bird represents symbolism in the poem. The colour black represents the final death that man must face. Death is defined as the final fate that man must face while living on Earth. The appearance of The Raven in an imperious matter is symbolic of destiny, in which man must confront death. Death arrives unexpectedly to us, and no one has the power or influence over mortality or the destiny that is sure to befall him or her. The arrival of the dark bird at night is also a symbol of the time at which death meets humanity and all the creatures. Midnight is decried in the poem as the witching hour. At night, many people are often asleep, and few can recall what they are likely to encounter or what they are likely to go through in the course of their living.

At the end of the poem, the narrator affirms that he will live with the Raven forever. Living with the Raven forever is indicative of the grief that he has to go. As such, the Raven is representative of the misery and death that has engulfed the narrator in the poem. The narrator has a permanent reminder of Lenore, and for as long as he is to remember of Lenore, then he has to live with the Raven. Therefore, the Raven is an evil that brings about endless grief to the narrator.

Pallas is also representative of the symbolism that is going on in the poem. In line 42, “upon a bust of Pallas just above chamber door” is symbolism of the wisdom that is perceived of the Pallas (Jones 88). While the narrator is struggling to forget about Lenore, knowledge has hit that he has to continue with the thought of Lenore.

In Lines 38 to 40 of the poem, the Raven is described in the poem as being stately and acting like a lord or lady. Such is indicative of the position that it holds in the society. The representation of being stately means that the Raven controls a kingdom, the kingdom of darkness that is associated with grief and death that is credited with the emotional pain that the narrator is going through after the death of Lenore. The raven enables the narrator to settle and to have the confidence of being in harmony with the circumstances of death that seem to surround his life.

The final case of symbolism that comes out of the poem is that of the month of December. The month of December is embroiled in the winter season. During winter, people are often coiled up in their houses and in gloom owing to the cold. During winter, there is the adage that nothing lives due to the shallow temperatures that place the survival of many beings into jeopardy. The illustration of nothing seeming to have a life during the winter season is in line with the circumstances of death that run through the entire poem. The month of December of also symbolic of the end of an era and the end of a year. The end of Lenore is symbolized by December, the last month of the year.

Work Cited

Jones, Paul Christian. "Nevermore!": Non-Normative Desire and Queer Temporality in Poe's" The Raven." Poe Studies 49.1 (2016): 80-98.

September 01, 2021

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