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

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

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.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
Soaring plane image

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial