Once Upon a Midnight Dreary (Essay Sample)

Once Upon a Midnight Dreary

“Once Upon a Midnight Dreary” is among the most famous poetic phrases in the American literature. The line was written by Edgar Allan Poe in his most famous poem titled “The Raven” which was considered to be strange like other poems that he wrote. Edgar Allan Poe led a life that most people thought to be crazy. Edgar led a miserable life as a child as well as an adult. Besides his miserable life, Edgar was among the most celebrated storytellers and poets in America. His life was occupied with misfortunes and disappointments something most people associate with his addiction to drugs. The state of his mind and addictions are depicted in his works. Madness and violence are common and can be associated with alcohol while the peaceful and dreamlike state can be linked to his strong desire to opium.

Born in January 1809, in Boston to itinerant actors, Edgar’s grandfather was a Revolutionary War General. His father was an alcoholic and left his family while Edgar was just 18 months old and succumbed to death a few months later. A few months later, his mother’s tuberculosis advanced to pneumonia and died after few days. Left as an orphan, Edgar was adopted by John and Frances Allan and adopted their surname as his middle name. The couple was wealthy, but his new father was mean to Edgar in all aspects. However, his new mother developed an affection for him which kept them close. His new family left America to England where Edgar did well in academics. While on vacation in England, Edgar’s adopted mother developed tuberculosis and they had to return to their home in America where Edgar continued with his studies. Besides doing well in academics, Edgar also did well in athletics. He joined the University of Virginia in 1826. He had a brief engagement, which was ended by his fiancé’s father. Many argue that this marked the first of his several courtship misfortunes. He did not stay long in the University because he was kicked out after one year. He had huge gambling debts that he was unable to settle. After his second father hearing the news of his son’s behavior at the university, he withdrew his financial support and Edgar had nowhere to go. Edgar’s life after being kicked out of the university turned into darkness. He was admitted to the West Point military academy where he did not last for more than one and half years. He was also kicked out of the academy. He moved to Baltimore where he lived with his aunt and worked as an editor. At age 27, Edgar married his 13-year old cousin, Virginia Clemm. Edgar seemed to have got a new life until 1847 when tuberculosis took his wife. He became suicidal. The circumstances that led to his death remains a mystery up to date.

“The Raven” from which the phrase “Once upon a Midnight Dreary” has been extracted from is one of the great poems that were written by Edgar Allan Poe. Additionally, it is one his most famous poems because of its great meaning as well as various literal devices. The poem is highly recommended for academic works; for example, during my 4th grade our teacher read it to us and since then it had a great meaning not only to me but to those of us who loved Edgar’s art. The poem is about a man who attempts to find solace after remembering his lost on a cold and dark evening. As he is about to sleep, he hears a knock on the door. Thinking that the knock was as a result of his dream, he apologetically opens the door only to be greeted with darkness. The speaker overcame with half-fear and half-wonder but the only word he can say is “Lenore.” After closing the door, another knock is heard from the chamber’s window. The speaker opens the window only to see a beautiful Raven. He attempts to drive the raven away but in vain. He tries to shout in a maniac manner in an attempt to force the bird take it leave from where it came from, but the bird does not move. The bird is a remembrance and is still there besides the window’s chamber up to date tormenting the soul of the speaker as a reminder of his lost love.

It is not easy to relate to someone who is being hunted by a monster because, despite its scariness, you know this is not real. However, it is possible to relate to someone who is psychologically tormented by his past. Edgar does not seek to scare his readers, but give them a picture of the narrator’s self-torment. He uses a raven that gives negative answers to any question it is asked, slowly driving the narrator mad. One will wonder if Edgar wrote the poem late at night beside a dying fire, not gotten enough sleep or food but yet under the influence of alcohol.

It is without a doubt that among famous lines in American poetry, ‘once upon a midnight dreary”, is one of them. It is a line from a poem written by Edgar Allan Poe called “The Raven.” The raven is a poem mainly about lost love, sadness and loss of hope. Edgar Allan sets the poem’s mood from as early as the first stanza. The Raven presents an unnamed narrator seated by a dying fire on a dreary night in December reading “forgotten lore.” It can be argued that Edgar had depicted the desire of people to be taken away from the physical torments of the world. The Revolutionary War had ended but the country was trying to be united and clean the ravages of war. Most people were grieving the loss of the loved ones and more immigrants were coming into the country. On the other hand, one can argue that Edgar was reflecting back to his life experiences. He had lost his loved maternal mother and second mother. His life had taken a tragedy road and “the drink” had become his solace.

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