Philosophy of Compostion
Poes Composition of the Raven
Edgar Allen Poe describes in great detail, his poem The Raven, in The Philosophy of Composition. Never before had I been able to read a poet describe in his own philosophy of making a poem. Poe goes in deep context and meaning to how he derives the story line to his poem. He explains what significance the raven plays in the poem and the beauty of his intent in the poem.
Poe, first thought of an impression or effect he would like to suppress upon the reader. In this case, he chose beauty as the sole intent of his poem. Second he wanted to find a tone, which would express his view of beauty throughout the poem. His choice of tone was sadness because he believed beauty excites the sensitive soul to tears (1575). He also wanted to use a refrain, brief, but subtle, which would be a vocal variation to the poem. He chose to use only a single word nevermore (1576). His next idea was to think of a creature that could believably speak such a word, but still keep the intent of the tone of sadness and melancholy. He first thought of the obvious, which was a parrot, but decided a raven to be a better creature for such a tone.
Once these features had been derived, he needed bases for the poem. In the case of beauty, he believed a dead lover to be the beauty. Poe writes, the death, then, of a beautiful women is, unquestionably, the most poetical topic in the world(1576). On the other hand, Poe figured what better then the dead lovers, existing
partner, who is forced to live in agony of death, to be the sadness. The way he puts the poem together, by having the beginning-at the end, where all works of art should begin (1577) is very intriguing, and shows the thinking of Poe and his work.
As he puts the poem together, he interprets the raven to the bereaved lover as being lost in the storm. The raven, looking for shelter ends up at the window of the chambers where the bereaved lover is sulking in his loss. The poem takes shape from there, in Poes own ingenious.
Through the encounters of the raven to the lost lover, is how the lover reveals to the reader his thoughts and feelings. Poes use of characters is unique and is formatted to the story beautifully. Poes way of writing poetry and his originality of ideas for a poem, contributes to his uniqueness among poets in his time.
Edgar Allen Poe, The Philosophy of Composition: The Raven.
W.W. Norton & Company, inc.,500 Fifth Avenue, New York, N,Y, 10110
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