Why despair?

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Something that interested me about this article is the following quote: "He came [the woodsman] to cut down the tree because he wanted to use its wood for selfish purposes (this is similar to the grudge of the swines in the beginning of the poem). The woodman used the oak to make a ship, but absurdly, this ship became its coffin."

How ironic? The question that I asked myself (I don't know if it will make any sense to you?) is that if the woodsman is selfish, why isn't the raven selfish? Because of the context of the raven having a family, we automatically feel bad for the raven. The raven was just making the best life he could for himself and his family, right? Well wasn't the woodsman making the best he could for himself, and the others who needed a ship? The boat was a necessity to cross the water. And in order to make a boat, one needs wood, which by chance, just happens to come from trees. I don't know, but to me, it doesn't sound like the woodsman was selfish. Or if he was, then I must be really selfish.

"Coleridge did not find a suitable and reasonable answer to the question why despair, hatred and death should always win against posititve values such as joy, love and life."

Nothing can put "The Raven" in better perspective that the quote above by the author himself, Coleridge.

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4 Comments

Andy, the raven didn't destroy another bird's home or another man's home. He was thinking for himself but in a good way. The woodsman was trying to make money by selling his wood to sailors and such...how was the raven trying to do anything but make a home for himself and his family? The raven is not selfish...

I agree with you Andy, the woodsman was just doing what he could to get buy. No where in the poem does it say that he was going to sell the wood to other sailors... he just needed a way across some body of water.

I undertsnad what both of you are syaing but I never saw anything about him cutting downt he trees to seel them to sailors.. he was using it for himself so he could cross the river..It is natural for a bird to make a home in a tree, but everything these days are made out of wood and to get wood you need to cut down a tree. I undertsand your point Elyse but becuase you feel bad for the birds, as do i, are you going to stop using paper and etc because you feel bad. He might have cut down the tree for himself, but other people cut down the trees so we can have paper, pencils, furniture and etc.

Wow Andy and Elyse I think you two have great points. I don't really think either of them are selfish. I think what happened was just a coincidence. Like Andy said, the woodsman was just trying to make it in the world and happen to come across an oak tree. It's not like he purposely cut down the tree because there were a family of ravens living in it. I think the Raven is the only one of the two who know what's going on. The woodsman just wanted to buidl a ship, as does the raven want a place to house his family. I just think the situation was a fluke, tragic accident.

If either of the two should be considered "selfish", in my opinion it would be the raven. The woodsman is unaware he even affected some bird's life so much. The raven literally laughs at the man's death. Though, I guess if my family was killed I would be angry at the person who caused it, too. But it's not like the woodsman premeditated their death. All the guy wanted to do was build a ship.

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This page contains a single entry by Andy published on February 15, 2006 3:21 PM.

Do you fear death? was the previous entry in this blog.

A real eye-opener is the next entry in this blog.

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