How does rhyme, internal rhyme, alliteration, and onomatopeia in "The Raven" affect us?

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litteacher8's profile pic

litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The repetition comes across as very spooky, and the rhyme gives the poem a sing-song quality that is also very haunting.  The words are carefully chosen to make the reader uneasy.

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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There is a musicality to the trochaic octameter and the other rhythmic devices such as onomatopeia, alliteration, assonance, parallelism, and rhyme of Poe's "The Raven" that seems almost Baroque in its recurring motifs.

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Susan Hurn | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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The sound techniques appearing throughout the poem are numerous and  sometimes complex. The use of end rhyme, internal rhyme, the interlocking rhyme scheme, and alliteration creates the effect of lulling readers and drawing us into the fantastic supernatural tale.

The alliteration, in particular, creates an effect that is almost hypnotic, as seen in this phrase: "While I nodded, nearly napping." Poe's frequent repetition also contributes to the poem's hypnotic effect. These devices are especially effective in the poem's beginning as Poe establishes the mood.

The examples of onomatopoeia in the poem contribute to our sense of the setting. They serve to put us there with the narrator in that room with the fire dying and shadows looming. One good example of this effect of onomatopoeia would be this line from the third stanza: "And the silken, sad, uncertain rustling of each purple curtain . . . ." With these words, we can hear the curtains barely moving, breaking the ominous silence.

Poe's sound techniques in "The Raven" accomplish these several effects, while enriching the poem's tone.


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