Summary of The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe

The summary of The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe echoes the poet’s requiem for love that is long lost and perhaps can never be made to return back. The Raven; which happens to be one of the very best creations of Poe is often referred to as a poem with a mark of melancholy where his never ending struggle to get over his grief seldom gives him a chance to put an end to his anguish.

From the very onset of the poem, the atmosphere offers a brooding and mystifying outlook which occurs as a recurring motif as the poem progresses further. The setting here is gloomy and dark which is representative of both the night as well as the state of Poe’s mind. He conjures upon an image of a raven that flies over to his room and taps on his window which makes him alert of the happenings all around him.

The theme of The Raven starts with a hint of suspense as Poe continues to draw upon images that offer a spooky atmosphere. (Dark, late, cold, and “bleak). Gradually, the rom starts to feel haunted as the “dying embers,” starts making out ghostly shadows dancing all around the floor of his room. Through the following lines, the idea of The Raven is highlighted and the poet states the reason as why he is staying up late in the night. He is grieving for a lady called Lenore who is now dead and have parted ways with the poet forever. However, Poe has not able to get a grip on the reality and as a result, he is at war with is oneself to overcome the sorrow and lighten his grief stricken heart.

Poe wants to “surcease from sorrow” but he is not sure whether staying up late at night can help him to do it.

One of the best aspects depicted in the summary of The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe is the setting and building up of atmosphere which feels the poem with “fantastic terrors.” The poet states how his heart starts to beat faster and that he has no clue how to calm himself. Also, the Raven identity is kept latent and only revealed as the poem progress both in its mood and course of events.

As time passes on and Poe is more and more absorbed into the atmosphere, he starts to get a grip on his reality and makes an attempt to accept things that have happened with him in his life. (The loss of Lenore who was Poe’s beloved tore him to pieces and there was nothing out there in the world that would give him his peace of mind). For a long time, it’s the darkness itself in the poem that keeps playing havoc with the psyche of the poet thus imparting a feeling of being hypnotized.

In the next stanza of the poem, the poet shows how much he longs to go back to his bed and take a nap like any normal man would do. However, he eventually comes to truce with his inner self which is unrest in nature and would never settle down as the loss of Lenore had left dents in his heart, damages that are irreparable. The word “Lenore” happens to be a rhythmic tone with “Nevermore” that keeps appearing throughout the poem and plays and ploy with human emotions boding ill and odd for everyone. It’s a sad picture of a grief stricken poet that is painted throughout the poem where he dwindles between his peace of mind and his grief-stricken heart as his lady love has left him forever and have moved on to the other world. Everything that he sees, feels and touches now is bleak and of no importance, even the darkness reminds him of Lenore. Neither he can forget, nor he can continue to live with her thoughts and is torn apart within his own self. He feels worse than ever (“all my soul within me burning”). Poe in due course of time fails to come to a rational explanation which creates more confusion and chaos.

It is towards the end of the poem when Poe finally introduces the readers to the Raven. It’s not just any other regular Raven but one that makes him recall days of the nobles (“the saintly days of yore”). The Raven flies in without any hesitation and moves on to find a place over the statue of Pallas who is a Greek goddess of wisdom, which is planted on the top of his door. Here the summary of The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe takes a solemn turn where the poet stops to ponder and question the sanity of the bird that has just flew in to his room. It is through the representation of the Raven that makes it an important poem where the readers realize how the poet is caged within his own inner self and drags his psyche down to hell, a soul that is destined to be doomed forever without any chance of respite.

It is good to know:

  • Unable to support himself, on May 27, 1827, Poe enlisted in the United States Army as a private. Using the name “Edgar A. Perry”, he claimed he was 22 years old even though he was 18
  • Edgar Allan Poe is buried in Baltimore, Maryland. The circumstances and cause of his death remain uncertain.
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