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Poe decided to use a raven because it fulfilled his need for a nonsensical creature to repeat the ominous word and could also stand for the speaker as an omen of death (Poe).
Nothing further then he uttered – not a feather then he fluttered Till I scarcely more than muttered, “other friends have flown before On the morrow he will leave me, as my hopes have flown before.” Then the bird said, “Nevermore.”Startled at the stillness broken by reply so aptly spoken, “Doubtless,” said I, “what it utters is its only stock and store, Caught from some unhappy master whom unmerciful Disaster Followed fast and followed faster till his songs one burden bore Till the dirges of his Hope that melancholy burden bore Of ‘Never – nevermore’.”But the Raven still beguiling all my fancy into smiling, Straight I wheeled a cushioned seat in front of bird, and bust and door; Then upon the velvet sinking, I betook myself to linking Fancy unto fancy, thinking what this ominous bird of yore What this grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt and ominous bird of yore Meant in croaking “Nevermore.”This I sat engaged in guessing, but no syllable expressing To the fowl whose fiery eyes now burned into my bosom’s core; This and more I sat divining, with my head at ease reclining On the cushion’s velvet lining that the lamplight gloated o’er, But whose velvet violet lining with the lamplight gloating o’er, She shall press, ah, nevermore! ” said I, “thing of evil – prophet still, if bird or devil!
Then methought the air grew denser, perfumed from an unseen censer Swung by Seraphim whose footfalls tinkled on the tufted floor. Whether Tempter sent, or whether tempest tossed thee here ashore, Desolate yet all undaunted, on this desert land enchanted On this home by horror haunted – tell me truly, I implore Is there – is there balm in Gilead? By that Heaven that bends above us – by that God we both adore Tell this soul with sorrow laden if, within the distant Aidenn, It shall clasp a sainted maiden whom the angels name Lenore Clasp a rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore.” Quoth the Raven, “Nevermore.”“Be that word our sign in parting, bird or fiend,” I shrieked, upstarting “Get thee back into the tempest and the Night’s Plutonian shore! Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my door!
While the bird's repetition of the word “Nevermore” is objectively nonsensical, the speaker gives the utterance context and allows the word to agonize himself.
Poe’s use of symbolism in The Raven gives the poem a needed air of drama.
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Furthermore, the name of the woman the student loved, Lenore, also produces a similar sound.
The repetition of the same note, over and over again, puts the lover to a path of self-inflicted torture.
Instead of finding peace in just embracing the wonderment of not knowing something, we have to have knowledge, breaking the magic. Our experienced writers have been analyzing poetry since they were college students, and they enjoy doing it.
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