First, I would like to say how this poem reminds me of the beginning of the movie “Strangers.” Similarly to the movie, we do not know why the Raven is there. That is the first problem in the poem, who or what does the Raven represent? Not mentioned until the 43rd line of the poem, the Raven appears to be a symbol for death. It is possible the Raven is symbolic of death because of his reference to the afterlife when he mentions “the nights Plutonian Shore.” As stated in genius’ annotation of the Plutonian Shore, it is “an allusion to the afterlife and the bird has just emerged from the god of the afterlife, Pluto.” However, the Raven could also be the spirit of Lenore or even a figure of Poe’s imagination. Perhaps to really determine who the Raven is we have to look at another problem, the significance of ‘nevermore.’ Poe realizes that this nevermore is the Raven telling him that he will never see his love Lenore again, as pointed out by the genius annotation. (87-88) Without the annotation, I would have missed this crucial turning point in the poem. This makes me think that the Raven is Poe’s antagonist. He still misses his love Lenore and I would assume hopes to re encounter her in the afterlife. This Raven is denying him of any hope stating with that one word that he will never see her again. It is possible that the Raven is actually death relaying this message to him, but it is more likely his imagination has taken over. In the 14th stanza there is mention of a forgetful drink, so this could be a drunken imagination. This seems more likely because he is arguing with a bird about his dead love. My question to the class is What do you think the bird represents? Is it death, Lenore, his imagination, or something else? Also, I enjoy the way this poem sounds and flows more than the Shakespearean poems. Does anyone agree or disagree with this statement?
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