The Raven is a famous poem by Edgar Allan Poe

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Edgar Allan Poe's poem "The Raven" is well-known. The poem is about an anonymous character who is torn between the need to remember and the need to forget. The poem depicts the grief of a man who has lost a loved one to death, and he is attempting to forget his loss by books when an unwelcome raven pays him a visit. Edgar Allan Poe utilizes first-person narrative, allusion, symbolism, and imagery to construct the poem's core theme of undying commitment.

The First-Person Narrative

Allan Poe employs the first-person narrative in The Raven, allowing the viewer to follow the unidentified narrator's journey from exhausted scholar to deserted lover. In the poem, the speaker is grieving the loss of Lenore, his lover. This is evident when the narrator says, “Vainly I had sought to borrow from my books surcease of sorrow- sorrow for the lost Lenore” (Poe line 9-10). As the poem progresses, it is apparent that this loss is haunting him making him a desolate man. The narrator is in an empty apartment agonizing over the memories of a deceased lover, and this shows his undying devotion for the woman he loved even in her death.

Symbols and Symbolism

Apart from the first-person point of view, Allan Poe in The Raven uses symbolism such as the raven. According to Harris, in the poem, the Raven symbolizes death (669). As the narrator is seated tired and weary studying a book near a dying fire in a lonely apartment, the raven appears, and it reminds him of his lover’s untimely death. Poe writes a “some visitor entreating entrance at my chamber of the door,” this is when the narrator is referring to the raven (Stanza 3, line 16). The raven in the poem is a physical representation of sorrow and death.


In The Raven, Allan Poe uses allusion to describe how the narrator holds the hope that the raven was in the room for a good reason and the reason was to end his suffering. For example, he asks the raven “is there balm in Gilead” (Line 89) while he was lamenting about the death of Lenore and the raven's answer is always “Nevermore.” Moreover, the second allusion pointed out in the poem is the phrase about “the night’s Plutonian Shore” which the unnamed narrator uses to address the Raven (Poe Line 98). The allusion is used to show how eternal sorrow consumes a person after the death of a loved one.


Allan Poe utilizes imageries as recurrent rhetoric devices to add the sense of feeling in the poem. For instance when he writes “and the silken sad uncertain rustling of each purple curtain” which makes the audience believes that the sound of the curtains was dark and monotonous (Line 13). Besides, Poe uses imagery in the poem to suggest the sense of smell and a breathing sensation. For example when the narrator says, “The air grew denser, perfumed from an unseen censer” (Line 79).


In conclusion, Allan Poe’s poem, The Raven is about an unnamed narrator who had an undying love/devotion for Lenore, a woman she loved. He was wallowing in self-pity and pain questioning the raven who had no real answer for him. The man in the story was devastated after the death of the woman he loves, and he holds onto the love even after her death. Edgar Allan Poe in his poem The Raven through his unnamed narrator shows how the demise of a loved one brings a constant sorrow. In essence, Poe uses symbols, imageries, allusions, and the first person narrator to highlights feelings and adds more emphasis to the intention of the poem which is the undying devotion to a loved one even in death.

Works Cited

Harris, James C. "Edgar Allan Poe: The Raven." Archives of general psychiatry 65.8 (2008): 868-869. Print.

Poe, Edgar Allen. The Complete Tales and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe. Irvine, CA: Xist Publishing, 2015. Print.

April 06, 2023



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