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The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe

Updated on May 24, 2016

Top Interpretations of The Raven

There are some great interpretations on YouTube or MySpace of Edgar Allan Poe's The Raven. But above all, I go for... "The Raven and Other Songs" by the Raven, some songs chosen from Poe's poems and composed in a manner to reflect the broad variety in which Poe captures and illustrates the entire human experience. From haunting organ sounds and screaching guitar on The Raven and The Conqueror Worm to a melancholic guitar on A Dream within a Dream and Alone each song was composed with the utmost care to truly capture the essence of what Poe was trying to express and the imagery he was trying to unveil in his poems. With a truly wonderful Annabel Lee rendition!



The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,

Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore--

While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,

As of some one gently rapping--rapping at my chamber door.

"'Tis some visitor," I muttered, "tapping at my chamber door--

Only this and nothing more."

Ah, distinctly I remember, it was in the bleak December,

And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor.

Eagerly I wished the morrow;--vainly I had sought to borrow

From my books surcease of sorrow--sorrow for the lost Lenore--

For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore--

Nameless here for evermore.

On The Nightmares of Poe site you'll find the summary of this poem, one of the most famous American poems ever. Edgar Allan Poe uses several symbols to take the poem to a higher level:

The most obvious symbol is, of course, the raven itself. When Poe had decided to use a refrain that repeated the word "nevermore," he found that it would be most effective if he used a non-reasoning creature to utter the word. It would make little sense to use a human, since the human could reason to answer the questions (Poe, 1850). In "The Raven" it is important that the answers to the questions are already known, to illustrate the self-torture to which the narrator exposes himself.


A less obvious symbol, might be the use of "midnight" in the first verse, and "December" in the second verse. Both midnight and December, symbolize an end of something, and also the anticipation of something new, a change, to happen. The midnight in December, might very well be New Year's eve, a date most of us connect with change.


The chamber in which the narrator is positioned, is used to signify the loneliness of the man, and the sorrow he feels for the loss of Lenore. The room is richly furnished, and reminds the narrator of his lost love, which helps to create an effect of beauty in the poem. The tempest outside, is used to even more signify the isolation of this man, to show a sharp contrast between the calmness in the chamber and the tempestuous night.

In this narrative poem - a true "dark and gothic ballad", a lonely man tries to ease his "sorrow for the lost Lenore" by distracting his mind with old books of "forgotten lore." He is interrupted while he is "nearly napping," by a "tapping on his chamber door." As he opens up the door, he finds "darkness there and nothing more." Into the darkness he whispers: "Lenore" - hoping his lost love has come back, but all that he can hear is "an echo" murmuring: "Lenore".

The man returns to his chamber, and this time he can hear a tapping at the window lattice. And in there comes a stately Raven, "the bird of ill-omen", according to Poe. The raven perches on the bust of Pallas, the goddess of wisdom in Greek mythology, above his chamber door.

The man asks the Raven for his name, and surprisingly it answers, and croaks: "Nevermore." The man knows that the bird does not speak from wisdom, but has been taught by "some unhappy master," and that the word "nevermore" is its only "stock and store."

The man welcomes the raven, and is afraid that the raven will be gone in the morning, but the raven answers: "Nevermore." The man smiles, and pulls up a chair, interested in what the raven "meant in croaking, 'Nevermore.'" The chair, where Lenore once sat, brings back painful memories. The man, who knows the irrational nature in the raven's speech, still cannot help but ask the raven questions. Since the narrator is aware that the raven only knows one word, he can anticipate the bird's responses....

Can Lenore be found in paradise? - "Nevermore."

Finally the man concedes, realizing that to continue this dialogue would be pointless. And his "soul from out that shadow" that the raven throws on the floor, "Shall be lifted -- Nevermore!"

This also is a great rendition:

Edgar Allan Poe Film Trailer: Last Days of the Raven

The Raven / Lou Reed

New Raw Breed TV's "The Raven"

"The Raven" - Reading by Vincent Price


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    • profile image

      Delia 3 years ago

      Um It should fit the poem,. How are you going to make a movie based off a book or poem but then not flolow it? I understand that some directors have to wing it in some scenes in movies, so they can add more to the story so the rest of the movie/storyline will make sense but otherwise you flolow the rest. Its like battleship, they wrote a whole bunch of nonsense then just put it in the movie when battleship should been based off of WW1. But Rihanna was their meal ticket so they didn't care.

    • profile image

      anon 6 years ago

      I love Edgar Allan Poe! It frustrates me when in class (eight grade English) my fellow classmates cannot seem to understand the true genius that Poe is, how complex and intricate his writing style is, so difficult to accomplish. They also seem to find that he isn't scary enough, even though this was written almost two-hundred years ago, and just because a story is frightening doesn't make it good. They simply cannot appreciate this magnificent piece of literature.

      Bravo, Edgar Allan Poe, Bravo!

    • profile image

      The Joker 6 years ago

      Great story and love the film as well.....

    • angie ashbourne profile image

      angie ashbourne 6 years ago

      Hi! I like the poem the Raven by Edgar Allan Poe - good Hub.

    • profile image

      margie 7 years ago

      the raven is an extraordinary poem and we are actually using it for our Lopez high school marching band show.

    • profile image

      MrMidNight 7 years ago

      A favorite and classic poem i enjoyed by Edgar Allan Poe, interesting posting...

    • pinkhawk profile image

      pinkhawk 8 years ago from Pearl of the Orient

      ...mysterious and I can't help myself but to ponder.. interesting compilation, thank you! :)

    • loveofnight profile image

      loveofnight 8 years ago from Baltimore, Maryland

      i am definitely a poe fan

    • Moulik Mistry profile image

      Moulik Mistry 8 years ago from Burdwan, West Bengal, India

      I have not read much of Poe but your intro here is something that I appreciate...

      (I think we have already met each other somewhere else, isn't it? Will you please PM me?)

    • The Lost Dutchman profile image

      Patrick Bernauw 8 years ago from Flanders (Belgium)

      That would be a very high Price, I suppose!

    • profile image

      Russ Hibbard 8 years ago

      I have one of the original copies of this book with the big angel on the cover and gold leaf, its very large and very old. Also signed by Vincent Price. I was wondering how much it is worth.

    • Chad A Taylor profile image

      Chad Taylor 8 years ago from Somewhere in Seattle...


    • JxChristina profile image

      JxChristina 8 years ago

      I've always been somewhat fascinated with Poe, and The Raven is one of my favorite poems. I memorized it for a presentation when I was in the sixth grade...This is a wonderful compilation. I especially liked Christopher Walken's interpretation. Thank you for this hub.

    • thanglynn07 profile image

      thanglynn07 8 years ago from Long Beach, CA

      Thank you for this. I have always loved and amire Edgar Allen Poe and his ability to throughly express his grief. He says so little but means so much. I admire poets who are capable of that and I myself strive to be one. So thank you for this. And thank you for the in depth explanation. Makes perfect sense. Makes me appreciate the poem even more. I never even connected the late December to the ending of the year. I was thinking more of weather...but yes, this makes much sense. So thank you. Love this hub!

    • profile image

      Pachuca213 8 years ago

      ..I still love this one! Had to read it again

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      jjrubio 9 years ago

      This and the Tell tale heart are my favorites.

    • Amanda Severn profile image

      Amanda Severn 9 years ago from UK

      The Raven is also one of my favourites, as is 'Annabel Lee'. Whenever I see the poem, I'm always reminded of Gaugin's painting, 'Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore"'. Poe was certainly attracted to the dark and mysterious!

    • jdeschene profile image

      jdeschene 9 years ago from Boston, Massachusetts

      The Raven is one of my favorites as well. You've assembled quite a delicious buffet of Raven resources. Thanks so much for sharing.