Language, Rhyme, and Style of “The Raven” by Poe

Pages: 1
Words: 343

The Raven doubtlessly is in the list of the most famous works by Poe; for many, this poem is the primary association with his name. Both its language and the atmosphere it creates apparently contribute to such strong appreciation, and these two are closely intertwined. In fact, this piece of art is a bright example of a harmonious combination of form and content that serves to communicate suspense through a variety of details.

The rhythm of The Raven is unhurried and anxious simultaneously; the reader perceives the work as a depiction of an ordinary day while realizing that something outstanding is happening. The events Poe (1845) describes actually correspond to this impression: “Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary […] suddenly there came a tapping” (lines 1, 3). It is also possible to compare the language with that of recollections, which means a certain special occasion by definition.

Regarding the style, the piece involves numerous alliterations as well as repetitions of particular words. The most meaningful among those doubtlessly is “Nevermore,” which goes throughout the poem as a refrain (Poe, 1845). In the background of the narrator’s sorrow on the death of his beloved, that word, which the Raven continues to say, sounds especially torturing. This fosters the gradual but inevitable development of his insanity. The author apparently seeks to depict the latter through more and more fragmentary, incoherent, and emotional speech: “Is there—is there balm in Gilead?—tell me—tell me, I implore!” (Poe, 1845, line 89). By such means, he makes the protagonist’s state quite easy to decipher without describing it.

To summarize, Poe’s The Raven is a poem that combines storytelling with the power of artistic devices to create a unique atmosphere and mood of suspense. Notably, the rhythm the lines follow in parallel with the repetitions of words and sounds form the protagonist’s speech, whose structure, in turn, changes together with the state of his mind, growing disorganized. This is detectable from the piece without any direct explanations due to the author’s skillful use of poetic tools.


Poe, E. A. (1845). The Raven. Poetry Foundation. Web.