The Raven reveals the uncertainty, fear, and loneliness of a person who is involved in unfortunate situations. The poem is about somebody who is badly affected by the death of the love of his life. The person who is talking is trying to forget about his pain through reading. The important themes of this poem involve death, rationality, irrationality, the poem explores the results of the death that tortures those left behind. The mood and subject of this poem also add sadness and beauty.
About the same time this poem was written and issued, Poe’s wife Virginia was terminally ill with tuberculosis, so it is quite believable that the man in this poem is Edgar himself. There are many figures of speech throughout this poem. By the third stanza is suddenly filled with fear and thrill.
The chamber is richly furnished reminding us of the loss of his love which helps produce an effect of beauty. The stormy night outside enhances the atmosphere and the man’s isolation inside his room.
The lonely man tries to soften his ‘sadness for the lost love of his life’, by diverting his attention to reading old books. Shortly after he starts reading, he is slowly falling asleep when he is interrupted by a ‘tapping on his room door’. When he opens the door, there is nothing there but darkness. The man whispers ‘Lenore’, hoping his true love had come back to be with him. On a chilly night, at midnight, the narrator is sitting by himself, ‘weak and weary’, reading an old book of his ‘forgotten lore’ and nodding off.
When he is suddenly awakened by a knock at his door to the chamber, he assures himself that is nothing more than a visitor. The narrator then describes that he remembers that all this happened back in December. As the fire slowly dies, every dying ash like a ghost he desires for the night to pass so that he might escape from sadness over Lenore.
When the curtains start to rustle, the narrator is immediately frightened. Once again, he tells himself that it is only a visitor, and ‘nothing more’. Finding some measure of bravery, he calls out to whoever is knocking at the door of the chamber, and apologizes that he is taking forever to come to the door because he was napping. The narrator opens the door to the chamber, only to find nobody there. He stands at the entrance to his chamber, staring into the darkness, equally hopeful and fearful, ‘dreaming dreams nobody ever dared to dream before.’ He quietly calls ‘Lenore’ into the darkness and ‘nothing more’.
Suddenly the narrator hears something knocking at his window and he opens it. The Raven flies in, resting atop a bust of Pallas above the door. At first, he finds the bird’s ‘grave and stern decorum’ entertaining, and then asks it for its name, to his bemusement, the bird responds by saying ‘Nevermore.’ He remarks to himself that what the Raven says must be ‘stock and store’, words picked up the previous owner. But, unable to restrain his curiosity, he grabs a chair and sits straight in front of the bird, trying to understand what this ‘ominous bird of yore’ means by ‘Nevermore’. All the while, he visualizes that Lenore may be nearby.