Gothic Elements Edgar Allen Poe

9 September 2016

Allan Poe, is an American poet, whose primary genre is gothic literature. Gothic literature is defined by a genre of literature that has a combination of primarily horror and romance. In Edgar Allan Poe’s famous poem, “The Raven” he portrays many different gothic elements, which in turn made it one of the most widely known poetic examples of gothic literature. The basic elements of gothic literature are easily noticeable. He talks about his love, Lenore, who is unfortunately no longer with him, and he is heart-broken and is in depression.

He locks himself in his house and is soon visited by a talking raven, which constantly replies to him with “nevermore”, and forcefully reminds him that Lenore isn’t with him anymore. This is just one example of the horror and romance in the poem, the horror being the talking raven and the death of Lenore and the romance being his love towards Lenore.

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In almost everyone one of Edgar Allan Poe’s poems he talks about death, another gothic element, that also helps portray horror. For example in his poems, “The Raven” and “Ligea” one of the characters has died, and their love is in a state of depression and has to live on without them.

Another element common in many of Edgar Allan Poe’s poetry that helps portray gothic literature is madness. Madness helps show the gloominess of some of his literature because commonly being mad is frightening and horrific. Madness could also help the reader understand more about the character and their motifs, and this could help make the poetry more gothic because this could build a connection between the reader and the character and something that happen maybe more saddening for the reader.

An example of madness being portrayed in an Edgar Allan Poe poem is in “The Raven” when the narrator is continuously talking to the raven, because Ravens cannot talk. The setting of many of Poe’s fiction is also crucial to the gothic aspect of his poetry, as it helps make the introduction of horror and romance into the poem smoother because it sets the tone for the poem. The time the poetry is taking place, is commonly in the nighttime. The location is usually mysterious, secluded and/or spooky.

For example, in his poem “The Raven”, the time of day is during the night, the evidence supporting this is in the poem it said, “Once upon a midnight dreary”. The location is secluded and mysterious, you know this because when he opens the door he describes what he sees by saying, “darkness there and nothing more. ” This shows that the location is remote, because if there were others living close to him there wouldn’t have been only darkness. The atmosphere of a poem is mainly due to the minor details in the poem.

The atmosphere similarly to the setting, is crucial to the gothic aspect of Edgar Allan Poe’s poetry. It helps make the introduction of horror and romance into the poem a lot smoother and also, because it makes the poem more suspenseful. This causes you to not know what’s going to happen next and this makes reading the poem scarier for the reader. For example, he says, “And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor. ” This helps make the atmosphere of the poem gloomier because the room is being lit by a dying fire and it helps make it scarier because the room is dark.

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