The Raven

This study guide will help you analyze the poem “The Raven” by Edgar Allan Poe. We will show you examples of elements in the text that will be relevant for your analysis. In these notes, we will focus on the summary, composition, characters and speaker, language and style, rhythm and rhyme, imagery and metaphors, and themes.

Presentation of the poem

Title: “The Raven”
Author: Edgar Allan Poe
Date of Publication: 1845
Genre: Poetry

Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849) was an American writer. He is famous for his stories that deal with mystery and suspense (belonging to the Gothic genre), as well as for his poetry. The poem “The Raven” was published in 1845, during Poe’s lifetime, and brought him fame and popularity. 


You can read a short excerpt from the study guide below:

The raven

The raven is the other important character in the story. First, note that it is a bird that has an unusual feature: it can speak and the only word it utters is “Nevermore”. When it appears for the first time, it comes through the window and his entrance is grand, similar to the entrance of a king. In fact, the raven has the “mien of lord or lady” (l. 48), which suggests its royal nature and appearance. Note that the bird’s immediate choice is to fly upon the bust of Pallas (Athena, the Greek goddess of wisdom) above the speaker’s door. This symbolizes the bird’s wisdom and prophetic nature.

Soon, in the eyes of the speaker, the raven becomes “grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt” (l. 86) with “fiery eyes” (l. 90) and even a “thing of evil” (l. 105). Because the speaker is pained and enraged to hear the bird’s answers, he calls it a “prophet” (l. 105) sent by the “Tempter” (l. 106), which indicates that the raven has become the symbol of terror and death, a demonic creature.

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The Raven

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