In The Raven, what does nevermore mean?and why did he use it?greenspun.com : LUSENET : The Work of Edgar Allan Poe : One Thread
IN THE POEM THE RAVEN WHAT DOES NEVERMORE MEAN AND WHY DID EDGAR ALLEN POE USE IT SO MUCH IN THIS POEM?
-- Anonymous, July 31, 2001
In his "The Philosophy of Composition" Poe discusses the poem and part of this issue in cool detail, showing again that the best intentioned analysis has the potential to kill a good poem- every student comes to this conclusion sometime. A bereaved, melancholy man taking comfort from his books is disturbed by an unexplained sound. Then to the relief of his practical mind he discovers it is a mere bird after all. The word it repeats comes as an amusing puzzle, then a coincidence echoing some lingering obsession in his mind. back into the fear-supernatural trap he goes with gusto, finally setting himself up for a spiral of increasingly despairing echoes. the "messenger" and the "message" he makes into a nightmare plunge of dialogue. In essence, the man in his darkness harbors some hope of keeping and regaining a connection with Lenore. But the dark oppressive night is both the internal and external reality. What if there is no Hope? Poe wrestles with that in many poems, not accidentally relating to his present state of being on the "shore". "Can ever dissever my soul" and another earlier use of the sounds to express passionate finality with a sonorous rhythm. "Ligeia! Whatever thy image may be no magic will sever thy music from thee..." His "Sonnet: Silence uses the shore, lore, No More(echoing pronouncement) in much the same way. The long ominous sound, pronounced perhaps as southerners tend to to do without accentuating the final "r" is like a final breath- and a downbeat one at that. A case of sound matching meaning, setting tone and slowness drawling into the oppessive silence and shadow.
You can group the poems of this spirit into ones that defiantly focus on a star, the eyes of Hope(Future-Past happiness), the memory of his lost deceased beloved or that swirl completely down, blinded, into the maelstrom of despair(the Present reality all too often for Poe.)
-- Anonymous, August 01, 2001