Is "The Raven" by Edgar Allen Poe a dramatic or narrative poem? Explain why.

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booboosmoosh | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

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I struggled with the concept of narrative vs. dramatic poetry. Dramatic poetry is meant to be read or sung aloud. Narrative poems tell a story: it has a plot, "with objective regular scheme and meter." And while the poetry of this piece, with the sounds created by the placement of words to create internal and end rhyme, asks to be read aloud, this poem also tells a story, a hallmark of the narrative poem.

With this in mind, "The Raven" by Edgar Allan Poe has a plot: it tells of the devastation of a man who has lost his love, and is told by the raven, that he will nevermore see her, not even in heaven.

The poem also uses an abundance of literary devices: internal rhyme, repetition, alliteration, assonance, consonance, among others. These devices appeal to the ear, creating a musical quality to the verse—and are aided by the use of regular rhyme and meter (or rhythm). The rhyme scheme in each five-line stanza is ABCBB.

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