In "The Listeners," how does the poet create an eerie atmosphere?

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First of all, it is at night; the traveller pounds on "a moonlit door".  He is alone, it is quiet, and the poet emphasizes this by describing how you can hear how his "horse in the silence champed on the grasses".  Then, a classic horror-movie startle moment:  "a bird flew up out of the turrett about the Traveller's head".  So, total silence, a moonlight night, a startled bird to scare us. Then, the author refers to the presence of ghosts, which is very eerie:  "only a host of phantom listeners/That dwelt in the lone house then/Stood listening in the quiet of the moonlight." It is very eerie to imagine not just one, but a "host" of phantoms, so many that they "stood thronging" on the stairs, listening.  One has to wonder what they will do.  Even more eerie, the Traveller senses them there:  "And he felt in his heart their strangeness,/Their stillness answering his cry."  It is bad enough that he is there alone, but that he can sensse phantoms listening to him; by now the reader should be adequately spooked.

The ending is a perplexing mystery.  The Traveller bangs louder and says, "Tell them that I came.  That I kept my word."  This is very mysterious and eerie; who is he referring to?  What word?  Why must he come tells these phantoms that he kept his word?  It's a bit ominious.

The entire poem, through its use of moonlight, revelation of small clues, and the plot itself, is very eerie, and as a result, very intriguing.

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How does the poet creates an uncanny atmosphere using drama and mystery in "The Listeners"?

Using word choices, setting, ghosts and a mysterious errand, the author makes this poem very uncanny.  He describes how there is a "moonlit door," so, it is at night, and it is so quiet that you can hear "his horse" as he "chomped the grass" in the woods.  The traveller is "perplexed", so the author makes him confused and anxious, which takes the mystery and tension up a notch.  Then, there is the uncanny "host of phantom listeners" that "stood thronging the faint moonbeams on the dark stair", which indicates that there is a large number of ghosts that are crowded in the house, in the moonlight, listening to him.  Uncanny means creepy, eerie, or mysterious, and that description is definitely horrifying.  Imagine not just one, but an entire "host" of ghosts just waiting and listening.  It is a dramatic moment, and the mystery is just deepened as we wonder who they are and what they are going to do.  It describes that the traveller "felt in his heart their strangeness," so, the man is aware of them on some level, kind-of like how the hair on your neck prickles when you sense someone in the room with you.  That makes it even more dramatic, because he isn't oblivious, but knows something is up.  The mystery is deepened as the author adds the dramatic dialogue from the traveller:  "Tell them I came, and no one answered, that I kept my...

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word."  This mysterious, ambiguous and intrigiung phrase makes us wonder who are "they"?  Where was he?  What did he do?  Why did  he have to come back and tell them?  It is a puzzle, and quite a mystery.  We then wonder what the strangers will do, but they just "surged softly backward" as he leaves.

The entire poem is very uncanny and mysterious; the author uses word choices, an eerie setting, a host of ghosts, and a mysterious quest from the traveller to enhance that mystery.  I hope that helped.  Good luck.

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How does the poet create an uncanny atmosphere using devotion to details in "The Listeners"?

Because this poem is so short, the author picks his words very, very carefully to enhance the uncanny atmosphere through details that count.  The first detail that creates the uncanny atmosphere is the fact that the author chose to have the visitor arrive at the house at night.  This is a bit strange--who is out at night, travelling?  But, this traveller is, and that is a detail that the author deliberately chose.  It is dark, the moon is out, and that sets up for a creepy and scary scene.

The next detail is that the traveller receives no answer to his knock.  Having no one answer enhances the eerie mood; one wonders what is going on, and why it is so quiet.  As he waits, a bird startles and flies over his head.  Imagine being there alone, in the dark, and having a random bird fly over your head--that would scare anyone.  That detail also enhances the tense mood.  Then, the author describes "a host of phantom listeners" that "throng" the hallway.  Instead of having just one ghost or phantom, he has a lot of them, so many that they are thronging and filling the house.  That's pretty creepy.  The author also emphasizes the emptiness of the house, its silence, and that there is no one really there, besides the listeners.  That makes it even more strange.

Through all of these carefully picked details, the author succeeds in creating a very uncanny and eerie atmosphere in "The Listeners."  I hope that helped; good luck!

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