The Raven

By Edgar Allan Poe

Literal Interpretation

The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe is about a man mourning the loss of a girl named "Lenore". As he wallows alone in self-pity, relieving himself in books to forget her, he hears a tapping at his door. When he opens his window,expecting a visitor, he finds a raven. The man pushes his feelings and situation onto the bird, marveling at its presence then scorning it for cursing his "Lenore". As a representation of his misery, the bird sits there, uttering only one word, "Nevermore". No matter how much he curses or tries to understand the bird, it remains unlike Lenore, who is there nevermore.
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"Nevermore" by yuumei


The poem tells a story of loss and woe, portrayed through a raven. The narrative person describes the narrator as a man who has lost his girl "Lenore". The tone changes throughout the poem. He is at first lost and despairing, confused but delighted, then angry yet content. This can be seen as the stages of depression after losing a loved one.


It is a fairly long poem as it tells a story, but each stanza is structured similarly. The first line has internal rhyme, the second line stands alone, the third mimics the first, and the last two lines share the same last word. Then a line stands alone ending in more before the next stanza begins. Many of the sentences are long and have enjambments. Many of them ending in a dashed line, signaling a slight pause to keep anticipation. The title of the poem is the symbol of his depression.


The diction used in the poem would seem formal and polite, but was probably common word in the time it was written. The different in the word choices used to describe things throughout the poem. Words like "rare", "radiant", and "maiden" are reserved when describing Lenore, who was envied by heaven and angels. All other things were "burning", "ghost", and "bleak. There are allusions to the bible when the narrator yells at the bird, convinced it is a demon to haunt him since his Lenore has left his side.

Musical Devices

The rhyme of the poem described before adds a rhythm to the poem, allowing the reader to read faster and read over the emotions. This aids this poem because the narrator expresses his thoughts which happen fast and rapid all at once. Alliteration and consonance repetitions are found early on to add emphasis on his more intense emotions.