EDGAR ALLEN POE: THE RAVEN

First published in January 1845 Poe’s The Raven appeared in the New York Evening Mirror. The poem is about a distraught lover who was visited by a raven, an ominous bird who ultimately drags his soul “shall be lifted nevermore!” In other words, the raven’s ‘Nevermore’ goads the speaker into madness, as he is denied of the solace, he endeavors to find through his rendezvous with the raven.

Before he met the raven, the speaker was trying to meditate on his studies. He was completely torn apart because of losing his dearest, who died a premature death. Hence, he was actually trying to “borrow from my books surcease of sorrow.” But he was interrupted by a knocking at his chamber door. The speaker was instantly filled with terror and his heart began beating fast. He consoled himself, saying that it must be ‘some visitor’ ‘tapping’ at his chamber door. And on opening the door, he found none waiting outside. Yet, he waited for a while, perhaps hoping for a comeback of his deceased ladylove in some mysterious form. Hence, he called out her name and is vexed when only the echo murmured back the word ‘Lenore!’ amidst the stillness of the night. However the knocking was again heard even ”louder than before” The speaker presumed that it was the wind striking against the window pane. He opened the window and was awed to see an enormous raven settled itself on the bust of Pallas, lying close to the chamber door and further wondered the speaker saying, “Nevermore” when asked what its name was. The next moment he thought the bird would ultimately fly away in the morning by which time the storm would surely end. Earlier his friends had also flown away thereby deserting his hopes. In the same way the bird would also leave the speaker the next morning, the thought of which made him sad. But, the bird replied to him saying, ‘Nevermore.’

The speaker was then assured of the fact that the bird knew only to speak the word nevermore. Perhaps its owner was unhappy in life and thus, taught his bird, the speaker was thrilled with the thought that after all it was his unique experience to rendezvous with a talking bird, sitting on the bust of Pallas, beside his chamber door. He thus, pulled a cushioned seat close to the Pallas bust and wondered what actually this ominous bird signified its horrible eyes seemed to peer deep into the core of his heart. Yet, he sat with his head bending on the cushion’s velvet lining. He remembers how his ladylove used to sit by his side on the lamplight on a cushioned seat. But, since she had passed away, she would nevermore press the velvet of the cushioned seat.

Meanwhile, the air inside the chamber grew thicker because of being mysteriously fragranced by some unknown power. The speaker fancies that the air inside his chamber had been perfumed by angels who had brought a burning censure with them invisibly into the chamber so as to cheer him up. And the perfume in the air was introduced by the angels to drug the speaker and let him forget his grief of losing his Lenore. But, the raven hearing him spoke, “Nevermore” as usual.

This however infuriated the speaker and he wondered whether the raven before him was a mere bird or a devil. He wanted to know from the bird, whether it had come to lure him to evil or had just accidentally rushed into his chamber so as to seek shelter against the storm outside. Even he asked the bird if it knew about any balm in Hades that could pacify his grief. But the raven only said “Nevermore” to all his questions. Yet he asked him if he could tell whether his wounded soul would meet his beloved, the saintly Lenore, in heaven. But, the answer was the same – “Nevermore”.

Failing to elicit any suitable answer from the raven, the speaker finally ordered the bird to be away from his sight. After all the bird is a liar and it seemed to the speaker that the raven had thrust its break into his heart. Hence, the speaker commanded the bird to leave his chamber and fly into the storm outside. But, the ashamed raven continued sitting on the bust and replied “Nevermore” its eyes were demonic and the lamplight which was glowing inside the chamber shed the shadow of the bird on the floor. The speaker felt that his soul which lay in that shadow would be lifted from there “Nevermore”.

Categories: News