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The Raven Analysis

Author: Poetry of Edgar Allan Poe Type: Poetry Views: 17287

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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."

Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December,

And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor.

Eagerly I wished the morrow;- vainly I had sought to borrow

From my books surcease of sorrow- sorrow for the lost Lenore-

For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore-

Nameless here for evermore.

And the silken sad uncertain rustling of each purple curtain

Thrilled me- filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before;

So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating,

"'Tis some visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door-

Some late visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door;-

This it is, and nothing more."

Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer,

"Sir," said I, "or Madam, truly your forgiveness I implore;

But the fact is I was napping, and so gently you came rapping,

And so faintly you came tapping, tapping at my chamber door,

That I scarce was sure I heard you"- here I opened wide the door;-

Darkness there, and nothing more.

Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering,


Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortals ever dared to dream before;

But the silence was unbroken, and the stillness gave no token,

And the only word there spoken was the whispered word, "Lenore!"

This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the word, "Lenore!"-

Merely this, and nothing more.

Back into the chamber turning, all my soul within me burning,

Soon again I heard a tapping somewhat louder than before.

"Surely," said I, "surely that is something at my window lattice:

Let me see, then, what thereat is, and this mystery explore-

Let my heart be still a moment and this mystery explore;-

'Tis the wind and nothing more."

Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and


In there stepped a stately raven of the saintly days of yore;

Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed


But, with mien of lord or lady, perched above my chamber door-

Perched upon a bust of Pallas just above my chamber door-

Perched, and sat, and nothing more.

Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,

By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore.

"Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou," I said, "art sure no


Ghastly grim and ancient raven wandering from the Nightly shore-

Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night's Plutonian shore!"

Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."

Much I marvelled this ungainly fowl to hear discourse so plainly,

Though its answer little meaning- little relevancy bore;

For we cannot help agreeing that no living human being

Ever yet was blest with seeing bird above his chamber door-

Bird or beast upon the sculptured bust above his chamber door,

With such name as "Nevermore."

But the raven, sitting lonely on the placid bust, spoke only

That one word, as if his soul in that one word he did outpour.

Nothing further then he uttered- not a feather then he fluttered-

Till I scarcely more than muttered, "other friends have flown


On the morrow he will leave me, as my hopes have flown before."

Then the bird said, "Nevermore."

Startled at the stillness broken by reply so aptly spoken,

"Doubtless," said I, "what it utters is its only stock and store,

Caught from some unhappy master whom unmerciful Disaster

Followed fast and followed faster till his songs one burden bore-

Till the dirges of his Hope that melancholy burden bore

Of 'Never- nevermore'."

But the Raven still beguiling all my fancy into smiling,

Straight I wheeled a cushioned seat in front of bird, and bust and


Then upon the velvet sinking, I betook myself to linking

Fancy unto fancy, thinking what this ominous bird of yore-

What this grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt and ominous bird of yore

Meant in croaking "Nevermore."

This I sat engaged in guessing, but no syllable expressing

To the fowl whose fiery eyes now burned into my bosom's core;

This and more I sat divining, with my head at ease reclining

On the cushion's velvet lining that the lamplight gloated o'er,

But whose velvet violet lining with the lamplight gloating o'er,

She shall press, ah, nevermore!

Then methought the air grew denser, perfumed from an unseen censer

Swung by Seraphim whose footfalls tinkled on the tufted floor.

"Wretch," I cried, "thy God hath lent thee- by these angels he

hath sent thee

Respite- respite and nepenthe, from thy memories of Lenore!

Quaff, oh quaff this kind nepenthe and forget this lost Lenore!"

Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."

"Prophet!" said I, "thing of evil!- prophet still, if bird or


Whether Tempter sent, or whether tempest tossed thee here ashore,

Desolate yet all undaunted, on this desert land enchanted-

On this home by horror haunted- tell me truly, I implore-

Is there- is there balm in Gilead?- tell me- tell me, I implore!"

Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."

"Prophet!" said I, "thing of evil- prophet still, if bird or


By that Heaven that bends above us- by that God we both adore-

Tell this soul with sorrow laden if, within the distant Aidenn,

It shall clasp a sainted maiden whom the angels name Lenore-

Clasp a rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore."

Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."

"Be that word our sign in parting, bird or fiend," I shrieked,


"Get thee back into the tempest and the Night's Plutonian shore!

Leave no black plume as a token of that lie thy soul hath spoken!

Leave my loneliness unbroken!- quit the bust above my door!

Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my


Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."

And the Raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting

On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door;

And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon's that is dreaming,

And the lamplight o'er him streaming throws his shadow on the


And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor

Shall be lifted- nevermore!


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To me, The Raven is simply about the writer\'s struggle with depression-depression that is swiftly degenerating into full madness. It is a narrative, but it is not necessarily based upon Poe\'s real life situation. In fact he uses a whole lot of poetic license if, indeed, the poem is based upon himself.

| Posted on 2013-04-29 | by a guest

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You people are really brutal with your opinions. If you knew anything about Poe at all...you\'d know that he had another woman he considered to be his mother. Her name was Frances Allan. She died when he was 26.

| Posted on 2012-04-20 | by a guest

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| Posted on 2011-11-08 | by a guest

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It must be noted here that Poe\'s wife, Virginia died on January 30, 1847, two years after the poem\'s first publication (January 29, 1845). Poe uses the death of a beautiful woman because he felt that this theme was the most poetic topic of all, especially when told by the grieving lover (read The Philosophy of Composition by EAP published in 1850 where he actually explains the method he used in writing The Raven). His use of the name Lenore is common throughout many stories and poems he wrote.
The Raven is a story of heartbreak and despair. The narrator is presumed to be a scholar (or at least a student as someone here mentioned). This is given away by his reading of many books and the fact that there is a bust of Pallas, the goddess of Wisdom in his room. The narrator figures early that the Raven does not know any other word other than what he assumed was learned from someone who owned or otherwise was close to this bird. And that master must have experienced a tragedy in his own life.
The Raven seems to represent the narrator\'s own despair because it persists on tormenting him rather than give the answers he desperately seeks. There is a sense of guilt on the part of the narrator-could he have prevented the death of his loved one? did he cause her death? These are questions he cannot answer. And the hopes he speaks of he assumes the worst. Therefore regardless of what he wants to know, he concludes the worst. Hence there is no balm in Gilead; Lenor is not in Paradise; He is not going to forget her; etc.
So we eventually see that the unhappy master is probably the narrator himself, and that the Raven is his present being-present state of mind and it has consumed the person he used to be, though somewhere deep inside, that person is still there.

| Posted on 2011-11-04 | by a guest

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