A raven is a dark and mysterious bird, and in this poem a raven visits a man with a message. Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven” is about a man who is having a mental breakdown because of the death of a dear friend. The narrator presents a frightening and sad setting, while throughout the poem, talking about his dear friend Lenore, who has passed away. Later, the mysterious figure of the Raven is introduced as he appears in the narrator’s chamber. Puzzled and terrified by the appearance of this dark vision, the narrator questions his guest in various ways to find out the meaning of his visit. No matter what the narrator asks, the Raven has only one eerie reply.
The narrator describes his frightening and sad surroundings, which reflect his state of mind caused by the death of his dear friend. The narrator opens his sad tale with “Once upon a midnight dreary” and later offers, “it was in the bleak December.” He describes his chamber as containing “many quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore” and his fireplace as “each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor.” With such images as the old musty books and the dying fire, a mood is set that represents the lonely and frightened state of mind of the narrator. Later, he sees curtains moving without a window open, and hears someone tapping on his chamber door. We begin to see that the narrator is losing touch with reality because he is deeply depressed by of the death of his dear Lenore.
The narrator’s emotional breakdown over the death of Lenore continues after hearing the tapping at his chamber door. His deep feelings for Lenore are apparent in the way he describes her as, “the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore.” When he opens the door, something spoke of Lenore’s name through the darkness. He was struck with more sadness which he describes as, “all my soul within me burning.” He opened the chamber door to find nothing there, but a moment later the Raven enters.
To the narrator’s dismay, the only answer he can get from the Raven to explain his mysterious appearance from the darkness is the one word “Nevermore.” The Raven came into the chamber and “perched upon a bust of Pallas just above my chamber door.” What is important about this perch is that the bust represents the goddess of wisdom, and it is wisdom that the Raven is trying to communicate with his one word reply. Slowly the narrator realized exactly what the wise Raven was trying to tell him, which increases his terror. What the Raven was trying to tell him was that his
death was near. With each reply to his desperate questions, it became clearer to our narrator that he was never again to see Lenore, find paradise, or find any relief for his pain. In his words, “leave no black plume as a token of that lie thy soul hath spoken” he tried to resist the truth by saying that the Raven was not telling the truth, but admits defeat when he says, “take thy beak from out my heart.”
The Raven was a sign for the narrator that he was next to die after Lenore because each time the Raven answered the narrator’s questions, “Nevermore” had meaning. The Raven helped the narrator realize what was going to happen. Although the narrator did not completely understand the Raven at first, he knew the Raven had something important to tell him. The death of his beloved Lenore caused the narrator to miss her so much that his sadness ultimately led to his own death. Throughout the story, the setting reflected the narrators state of mind in that it was very sad, dreary, and frightening. “The Raven” by Edgar Allan Poe is about a man who is having a breakdown because of the death of someone dear to him. Poe managed to skillfully describe a man dying of a broken heart by his use of surroundings and the character of the Raven that reflected the state of mind of the narrator.