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September 22, 2018


#RIPXIII Classic: E.A. Poe “The Raven”

by N@ncy

Author: Edgar Allan Poe
Genre: poem
Title: The Raven
Published: (1845)
Table of Contents: 18 six-line stanzas (108 lines)
Published by Penguin Books
Theme: remembrance vs forgetting


Just   LISTEN  to the poem…..goosebumps!


“The Raven” is a narrative poem by the American writer and poet Edgar Allan Poe.
It was published for the first time on January 29, 1845, in the New York Evening Mirror
Noted for its musicality, stylized language and supernatural atmosphere,
This is one of Poe’s best known and most reviewed poems.
I hope to find something interesting to mention about this classic!


The poem describes the tale of a student, desolated by the death of his beloved,
He is visitied on a stormy `bleak December´ night by an ominous bird´.
It traces the student´s slow descent into madness.


Strong point: Alliteration: is the repetition of the initial sounds of adjacent words.
While I nodded nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping
Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortals ever dared to dream before
Followed fast and followed faster….
On this home by horror haunted…
And the Raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting.


Strong point: Rhythm
Repetition of words to give the poem a ‘throbbing’ rhythm….like a heart
“rapping, rapping”- tell me, tell me – “still is sitting, still is sitting”


Strong point: Rhyme
The structure of the poem is based on: A-B-C-B-B-B
Every 2nd – 4th lines rhyme – the 4th – 5th and 6th lines rhyme


  1. Line 1: Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary, A
  2. Line 2: Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore – B
  3. Line 3: While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping, C
  4. Line 4: As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door – B
  5. Line 5:”‘Tis some visitor,” I muttered, “tapping at my chamber door – B
  6. Line 6: Only this and nothing more.” B


Strong point: meter with surprises!
In this poem Poe has used ‘meter’ in 3 different ways:
lines 1st – 3rd lines of evey stanza have 16 syllables
lines 2nd – 4th – 5th of every stanza have 15 syllables
line 6 of every stanza has only 7 syllables


Symbol: The Raven
There are some very subtle hidden meanings in the poem about the raven.
Finding these words is the most difficult part of reading poetry.
Line 38-40: The Raven enters the room. He is ‘stately’ and has a ‘mien of lord or lady’ – this suggests an image of a king.
Line 45: The Raven is not ‘craven’ ( cowardly).
The allusion to ‘crest be shorn and shaven’ refers to medieval tradition of head shaving of a coward.
Line 48: The Raven ‘quoth the Raven, Nevermore’ –
The student ‘marvelled’ (line 49) to hear the bird speak.
After 10 x repetitions of this utterance the narrator slides into a maddend, frenzied state.
Line 85: The narrator call the raven a ‘prophet’ believing he foretells the future.
Line 105 – 108: Final image of the bird is a ‘demon that is dreaming’
casting a ‘shadow that lies floating on the floor’.
Narrator is terrified


Symbol: bust of Pallas (line 42 and 105): –
symbol of wisdom meant to imply the narrator is a student
Symbol: Night’s Plutonian shore (line 48 and 98) –
allusion to the Roman god of the underworld
Symbol: nepenthe ( line 83-84)
allusion to a mythological drug that you might take to forget your grief and sadness.
Symbol: chamber door is repeated 11x
This refers to room and the chamber of the heart ( feelings)


This is a poem for people who don’t like poetry!
It is one of my favorites and was FUN to ready and analyse.
The student “shrieked’ ‘take thy beak from out of my heart’.
But the bird ‘still is sitting, still is sitting’.
The beak keeps pecking at the heart repeating ‘Nevermore’
Theme: those we have loved and who become lost to us…
…can never be forgotten.
It may be painful to remember them….but it is more painful to give them up.


Last thoughts:    Depressing stories can be uplifting.
It all depends on the writing skills…
Edgar Allan Poe is a master of words and chilling images.

Read more from Classic, poetry

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