Composition

As “The Raven” by Edgar Allan Poe is a complex poem, we recommend you pay close attention to its outer and inner composition, so as you can learn more about the poem’s form and content.

Outer composition

“The Raven” is a rather long poem, comprised of 18 stanzas. Each stanza has 6 lines, and the entire poem follows the rhyme pattern ABCBBB:

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
“’Tis some visitor,” I muttered, “tapping at my chamber door
Only this and nothing more.” (ll. 1-6)

In the above example, we have highlighted the final words in each line so as you can better understand how the ABCBBB rhyme scheme works. You have probably also noticed that besides this external rhyme scheme, there are many instances of internal rhyme in the poem. In stanza 1, the word “weary” rhymes with “dreary” (l. 1), “napping” rhymes with “tapping” and with “rapping” (ll. 3-4). You will see that each stanza follows more or less the same pattern when it comes to the internal rhyme.

The poem uses trochaic meter, which means that a stressed syllable is followed by an unstressed syllable, like in the following example: “Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,” (l. 1)

A close look at the poem reveals that lines 1 and 3 in each stanza have 16 syllables (being octameters); lines 2, 4 and 5 have 15 syllables;...

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