Comparison and Contrast of Poe and Melville

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Comparison and Contrast of Two Dark Romanticists Although Contemporary American poetry is nowadays respected for having accumulated an archive of transcendental poems written by internationally acclaimed authors, it wasn't until the appearance of poets such as Poe and Melville, that the western world halted in their mockery of infant America's writing. Both Poe and Melville were Romanticists who incorporate many dark elements into their works and had thus come to be known as Dark Romanticists. Although the two authors share many common themes and elements that constitute Dark Romanticism such as death and irony, their rhetorical styles differ greatly in mood, diction, and setting. First of all, the underlying elements shown throughout both Poe's The Raven and Melville's Shiloh: A Requiem are undoubtedly death and irony. For instance, “Is there – is there balm in Gilead? - tell me - tell me, I implore! Quoth the raven, `Nevermore.” (Poe 95-96) clearly establishes the premise of death in Poe's poem. The raven symbolizes death, who torments the protagonist with it's seemingly omniscient answer of “nevermore” in response to the narrator's question. The question of “is there balm in Gilead?” is a reference to the Book of Jeremiah (8:22) which in context translates to “is there any medicine to heal me(from death)?”. Through inductive reasoning, it can then be inferred that the raven is replying to the protagonist's plea for medicine with “nevermore”(there is none), and shows the theme: the fear of death. In addition, it is also shown in the next stanza of Poe's poem that an actual death has already occurred, when the protagonist says “Tell this soul with sorrow laden if, within the distant Aidenn, It shall clasp a sainted maiden whom the angels named Lenore ...Quoth the raven, `Nevermore.' “ (Poe 98-101). Here, the protagonist is asking the raven whether or not the

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