In Edgar Allen Poe's "Lenore," does the narrator want to remember Lenore or to forget her?

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belarafon eNotes educator| Certified Educator

"Lenore" is a poem by Edgar Allen Poe, concerning the reaction of a man named Guy De Vere whose beloved has died. He challenges her family and friends about the proper reaction to her death (accusing them of hating her), then demands that they should not mourn her passing but instead celebrate her journey to God's throne in the afterlife.

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 character with a specific fate, and the poetic speaker is not vague in mentioning her passing when he reprimands de Vere for shedding no tears:

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,"

The first and third stanzas of the poem are spoken by the poem's persona, while the other two are spoken by Guy De Vere, who accuses the assembly of hatred of her. Guy speaks of Lenore's wealth as being the reason the assembly "loved her" and demands that their "evil eye" and "slanderous tongue" should not be turned to her requiem now. He declares that he will sing a song of praise, a Paean, to aid her in her "flight" to God's "throne":

"And I!- to-night my heart is light!-no dirge will I upraise,
But waft the angel on her flight with a Paean of old days!" (Poe, "Lenore")

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