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In Edgar Allen Poe's "Lenore," does the narrator want to remember Lenore or to forget her?
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High School Teacher
"Lenore" is a poem by Edgar Allen Poe, concerning a man named Guy De Vere whose wife has died. He ruminates on the proper reaction to her death, and finally concludes that he should not mourn her passing but instead celebrate her life and hope to meet her again after his own death.
The titular Lenore is not the same character as the one in "The Raven," although that poem is better known; rather, this Lenore is a specific woman with a specific fate, and the narrator is not at all obtuse about her passing:
And, Guy De Vere, hast thou no tear? -weep now or never more!
See! on yon drear and rigid bier low lies thy love, Lenore!
Come! let the burial rite be read -the funeral song be sung!
(Poe, "Lenore," online-literature.com)
The first stanza of the poem is written by an unnamed narrator, and the remainder is spoken by Guy De Vere, who admonishes the assembly for their misery. Guy speaks of Lenore's beauty, her wealth (for which the assembly "loved her"), and of their hypocrisy in demanding that he, who loved her for herself, weep at her death. Instead, he insists:
Avaunt! tonight my heart is light. No dirge will I upraise,
But waft the angel on her flight with a paean of old days!(Poe, "Lenore," online-literature.com)
Instead of forgetting her or remembering only her funeral, Guy will remember Lenore as his love and as herself; his memories will be happy ones, for he remembers Lenore as she lived, not as she died.
Posted by belarafon on February 27, 2012 at 2:19 AM (Answer #1)
High School Teacher
He wants to try to forget her, but he can't. The raven serves as a reminder of his state of depression.
Posted by laterragna on February 27, 2012 at 2:00 AM (Answer #2)
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