What is the mood/tone of Poe's "The Raven?" 

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

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Poe's poem "The Raven" starts with these lines:

Once upon a midnight dreary, 

while I pondered, weak and weary...

Note that the words "dreary" and "weary" introduce the mood of darkness and lethargy. Poe's diction, or word choice, serves to promote and deepen the mood as seen in the second stanza, which refers to "bleak December," "dying embers" that make "ghost" shadows on the floor, and the narrator's vain attempt to find relief from his sorrow "for the lost Lenore."

The rustling of the curtain fills the reader with "fantastic terrors never felt before." There is an incessant tapping at the door that reveals, when opened, only darkness. As the poem continues, it is apparent that this is quite simply a poem about the speaker's dead love Lenore. Even the bird in the story's title supports the mood: the raven is black (the color of death) and is an animal often associated with death. Repeated references to the presence of the raven sustains the mood Poe creates and develops throughout the poem.

The raven thus becomes “emblematical of Mournful and Never-Ending Remembrance.” 

Poe's repeated images of sadness and loss and the symbolism associated with the raven emphasize the feeling of melancholy. The poem comes full circle with the narrator's resignation to Lenore's loss, and his knowledge that his depression and misery will never leave him because he will never recover from his loss.


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