The Raven is a poem composed by Edgar Allan Poe and published in 1845. This is a dramatized monologue whereby the speaker indirectly expresses his psychological condition. Below is a synopsis of the poem:
An Overview of the Poem
This monologue occurs within the speaker’s chambers one Gloomy December night. It is midnight and the speaker shifts between reading and dozing off. Suddenly, he is startled by tapping sounds and thinks someone is at the door. However, his sorrow keeps him silent. The lost Lenore, who was his lover, has died. Eventually, he tries to answer, but upon opening the door, he finds nobody outside. The speaker whispers his former lover’s name and retreats to his room. Upon returning, the sound resumes, more intensely than before. He figures that those sounds are just the wind beating against his window shatters.
The speaker opens the shutter, and a raven suddenly appears. It then flies and perches Pallas’ chest. He is surprised by the stern and grave looks of the raven. He starts addressing the stately raven using big terms eventually asking to know the raven’s “Lordy” name. The raven gives a single-worded response, “Nevermore.” At first, he is amused at the raven’s prowess in speech but soon realizes that this bird can speak only a single word. He then convincingly assumes that it will leave the next morning. However, the raven disagrees with him and utters “Nevermore” once again. The speaker after that guesses that this raven has been trained by a melancholy master to utter “Nevermore” He smiles as he ponders on the message this raven is trying to communicate. The speaker then starts to think the bird has demonic powers upon noting the “fiery eyes.”
Finally, the speaker relates the raven’s appearance & message to his deceased lover, Lenore. He referred to the bird as a wretch sent by God as a reminder of the sorrows he would rather forget. He is now convinced that this raven is a prophet and asks whether there is a continuity after death. The raven still answers, “Nevermore.” The speaker then asks whether Lenore is still alive on the other side, but the raven responds the same way. Angrily, he commands the raven to leave him alone and return to hell, but the relentless “Nevermore” seems like strident defiance the speaker cannot counter. In the culminating stanza, the narrator claims the demonic-eyed raven still sits on the bust over his door, casting a shadow on his soul. The narrator joins in the bird’s refrain at the end of the concluding line.