The mystery surrounding the poet Edgar Allan Poe is not quite as thick as the mystery surrounding his enigmatic literary achievements. Still haunting after a century, The Raven remains one of the most popular poems of all time. Crafted with simplicity that masks complexity, this American Gothic sends chills into the daydreams of the young and old. How the poet's life is reflected in this work will be investigated here. .
Reprinted more than almost any other literary work, in many styles, The Raven timelessly entices readers to dare to embrace the darkness of their inner night (Poe x). For those who have experienced the real loss of someone they love, the work may strike to close to home. The thrust of the lyric is a loss; the poet, reclusive in his study, laments his lost love, Lenore. Poe himself was a young orphan. His mother died when Poe was three, and his father was never a part of his life (Poe 6). Even when his mother was alive, as an actress, she had no time for her son (Quinn 20). This double isolation contributed to the feelings of loneliness that would sow the seeds of great art in Poe. Lose of one's parents is difficult for any child, but for one as sensitive as Poe, this loss was earth shattering. The theme of loss runs through all of Poe's work. The main characters of his poems and stories are unilaterally alone, and the setting is most dark; "Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,/Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore" (Poe 12). Into this dreary setting, the poet's heart can be heard. Out of his loneliness, he calls for resonance with those who suffer.
Throughout his developing years, Poe suffered the deaths of more of those whom he cared for. Fatalism led him to seek his career in the army, and although he excelled there, he was too much a free spirit to find permanent camaraderie. He began publishing poetry as early as twenty, but it received no notice.