What symbolism is used in "The Raven" by Edgar Allan Poe.

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What symbolism is used in "The Raven" and what does it symbolize(mean)?

1. What does the Raven symbolize? 2. What does the dark hall out his chamber door symbolize? 3. What does the cushion's velvet lining (velvet draperies)symbolize? 4. What does December and midnight symbolize? 5. What does the bust of Pallas symbolize? 6. What does the word "Nevermore" symbolize?

-- Anonymous, December 29, 2001


Dear Jay,

What's with all this symbolism? Are you a Freudian? Does everything have to have a symbolic meaning?

Curtains are curtains, December's a month, midnight's the time, the bust of Pallas is a bust.

Listen, even Freud once said "sometimes a cigar is just a cigar"

On a serious note though, we can suggest some connotations for the following elements of the poem:

The Raven: by superstition the raven is associated with death, and with being a messanger of death (as the poem illustrates)

Dark hall: well, it's empty and dark, and he's all alone even though he hears a rapping coming from somewhere... oooo spooky!! maybe it means he's scared irrationally.

December and midnight: typical stock elements for spooky settings... if you want to write the type of poem that Poe wrote in "The Raven" you're hardly going to set it midday at the beach, are you.

The bust: well, Pallas also known as Athena, is the Greek goddess of wisdow, war and other stuff... I can't remember everything.

Nevermore: never again, it means that the narrator is doomed to never again see Lenore (for example, or whatever the context is).

I actually wrote an interesting analysis of the poem for my dissertation which I can perhaps let you have if you e-mail me.


Good luck with everything.



-- Anonymous, January 24, 2002

Above, wisdow should read wisdom... so I'm going blind now as well... I wonder what I've been doing!!! he he he...


-- Anonymous, January 24, 2002

I would like to say Ed is my fav poet. The Raven could be a symbol of Dispair of his lost Lanoir (I hate spelling). Ravens generaly represtent something bad. Or, the Raven could just remind him of Lanoir. I dunno. Im not 100% sure of anything with this guy. I can bring 100 interpreters and with that 200 or 300 interpretations. Sry I couldnt be much more help.

-- Anonymous, February 11, 2002

Well, if you have ever watched "The Crow" (you know, the really tight movie with Brandon Lee wearing freaky make-up) and you listen to what they say in the beginning, that a crow carries the spirit of a person to heaven when they die. Well, I was thinking that the raven could represent the same type of thing, only it's Lenore's spirit. And he sees her everywhere, he's miserable. I'm really not the best at symbolism, and this isn't the most original thought in the universe, but maybe I helped you understand with another example.

-- Anonymous, March 06, 2002

Edgar Allan is a Genius. Read the "Masque of the Red Death". This is directed at everyone who found this page, as the original message is a year old and y'all are still responding, as of six months ago. It's funny how we are all being immortalized by somehting so trivial as an internet messageboard.

-- Anonymous, October 02, 2002


-- Anonymous, November 27, 2002

the raven can symbolize satan comming to someone in their most miserable moments and trying to take the soul away.The black color of the raven reveals symbolism right away. Black denotes death, evil , a loss, misery, sin, confusion. velvet denotes death as well. ever heard the quote " touched by a velvet hand?" anything touched by that hand dies.december symbolizes the birth of christ. In the poem december is used as sort of an irony. in december christ was born yet in december lenore died. therefore lenore went to heaven. But since the speaker in the poem is miserable he is being condemned to hell because he is losing all faith in god . He is surrounded by darkness and is slowly giving up.Midnight symbolizes sexual intercourse, death, misery,secrets, loss of faith.Never more symbolizes that neither is lenore comming back and neither is he the speaker going to see her again.he is considered a sinner for losing faith in god and answering to satan ( The raven) he let the raven in meaning he let satan enter his soul. There its the best i can do even though i think poe is pathetic. his poems sound like nursery rhymes for psycho children.

-- Anonymous, December 03, 2002

In my personal opinion Poe was a psycho maniac with serious problems but when he wrote his poems he made them so, deep and dark that you would kind-of get hooked on his poem. When he described the Raven, you could see the bird in your imagination. I think that the bird was a messenger (from Lenore) to the man to tell him to stop living in the past and to live in the present. To forget Lenore and find someone else to love with the same passion that he loved her with. She is probably doing this so that he will finally be happy and she can go into her eternal rest, because I think that she loves him so much and cant be happy till hes happy.

-- Anonymous, January 14, 2003

how the hell do you people come up with these things? midnight symbolizing sex? what the hell are you on about? i have to write an essay on this poem and random interpretations with absolutely no basis whatsoever are not entirely useful! but thanks anyways...

-- Anonymous, January 17, 2003

Well i also have to write a coursework on this poem relating to gothic literature, i'm trying to run the 'sexual' or 'christian salvation' arguments but haven't decided yet... my other text (Dracula) is easily full of sexual/gothic preoccupations but 'The Raven' is causing some trouble anyone see any sexual sides to the poem??? Except that perhaps he feels guilt for his murder of Lenore, she was his lover so perhaps they sinned together and he has sinned in many other ways (Like murdering and speaking with the devil's familiar.) i just don't know, the religious argument would be too easy and besides everyone in my class has chosen it... Oh yes and purple symbolises guilt and depression, midnight is the time when the devil has the most power to do evil, the bust of Pallas looks knowingly on him it knows of what he has done (knowledge)or does he just fear its judgemental gaze, the dark hall and plutonian shores aid the epic and timeless feel to the poem i.e his damnation is eternal. Any help would be really great:)

-- Anonymous, February 06, 2003

Poe's works symbolize his own embrace of darkness. This can be indirectly related to current consumer demand. They wanted something new and exciting. He supplied it and he ended using this to express his inner feelings into a form accepted by society for their evil means. The society perversance of that era, there was no horror movies, only Poe.

-- Anonymous, March 10, 2003

well i have no clue about anything. i just felt like posting because i just did a huge research paper and no all of a sudden i have tons of time. well black is a color of evil and a raven is that color. that's the only thing that i can think oc that no one else has. yes it is funny that we're all replieing to it years after it's written but who care. i gotta go.

-- Anonymous, March 26, 2003

It is funny we are still replying, but we are helping others searching for the same info. I took midnight and December to symbolize an ending. Midnight is an end to a day while December is an end to a year. Poe was trying to bring the point across that it was the end of Lenore and the life he had once lived with her.

-- Anonymous, April 25, 2003

Im actully doing a short essay lol... yes a Short Essay.. on the poem The Raven and i needed to find some symbolism in the poem in order to complete one of the requirements. And while reading this message board i found alot of useful information... so Thank You... and also that i do find it kinda funny that were still talking about this Topic years later when the person who wrote probally didnt even check to see if it was ever answered... :)

-- Anonymous, May 07, 2003

kuck this

-- Anonymous, May 16, 2003

I heart ravens, and therefore i heart Edgar Allan Poe...all night long

-- Anonymous, August 24, 2003

Black is the absence of light. It is a void... empty.

-- Anonymous, October 09, 2003

I don't really have an answer to any of the questions on the message board but I ti had to do a paper on The Raven and this site really helped me out but I really could not find out what the symbolism for the purple velvet was. And that is one of the questions on the paper that I have to answer. If anyone finds out please please please e-mail me A.S.A.P!!!

-- Anonymous, October 18, 2003

I'm not really jewish, but it's cool name and my friends are jewish and encouraged me to use this name. So... The raven is a dark symbol. It has always meant bad things. I know that. But plz I need to write a whole essay on the symbolism of the Raven and only the raven in the poem. This site helped somewhat but i need more information so if anyone could put more info about just the raven's meaning that would be grand. Thanx anyways thou...

-- Anonymous, October 18, 2003

the raven perrhaps represents his sub-conscience...he keeps asking the raven thses questions even though he knows the answer...kind of like he needs hear it to believe it...the raven could also represent reality..NEVERMORE is his reality

-- Anonymous, October 25, 2003

Uh, im doin a term paper on Poe...i need criticism on the theme of horror...if ya got anything just let me know if you get a chance. thank ya-

-- Anonymous, October 26, 2003

The Raven symbolizes the manifestation of Poe's fears. The chamber door may symbolize an entrance from reality into poe's unconscience. The velvet draperies symbolize death, and december is the month lenore died and the end or midnight of it may well be new years eve signifying changes in general. The bust of Pallas is the greek god which symbolized wisdom. Nevermore represents the truth or reality of Poe's life in one word.

-- Anonymous, November 03, 2003

The Raven is cool. I dont know what it symbolizes tho....

-- Anonymous, November 06, 2003

is it a horror poem thou?

-- Anonymous, November 30, 2003

Okay I don't see how you can interpret the poem in a sexual manner. If one was to read the biography of Edgar Allen Poe the cornerstone of evaluating the poem should suffice one's difficulty in interpreting the poem. The Raven is considered a bird to give bad omen or bad fortune. December was the death of his real mother. Poe lived a life where death had such a great effect on his emotional being that maybe he finally decided to write about it. Lenore can be interpreted to either be his wife Virginia but I arque against this point because the poem was actually written exactly a year before Virginia died. Unless "The Raven" is predicting her deceasing health then Lenore could maybe be portraying her. But as I researched I believe that Lenore is not only the beginning death of Virginia but the lost of his first love that he could not talk to anymore because the family figured out that he was not the heir to his foster father's wealth. Abandonment plays a major role in Edgar's life considering at that time is foster father decided to not help him and be with him during his time of misfortune. At a young age Edgar's mother died in December I probably mentioned this before and maybe to set the scene he adds her into the month since death is a recurring theme. Also december is used to portray a bleak season considering that December is the real beginning of winter. Between the New years and December this could also be a light of hope to the scene because he is hoping that maybe he can revisit his loved ones that he has lost and maybe make it right since it is a recurring drum in his heart. Also his foster mother died and since Edgar and his foster father were in arqument he was not allowed to visit his foster mother even though this was HER dying wish to be able to see Edgar again. With such turmoil and distress going on in Edgar's life it is obvious that such writings can play an emotional opening into his own life. People and most readers see this psycho who was fascinated by death but most of the ones he loved died before he could and ended with him going into depression. The bust of Pallas symbolizes that of wisdom because the man in the poem which I believe is Edgar himself is waiting for an answer that is filled with wisdom that maybe just maybe he will be able to see the one's that he lost and maybe be able to live with them again for he lost them and missed them deeply. Sometimes when one dies it does not seem real and since Virginia health was beginning to fail maybe psychologically it brought Edgar to create a world where he would be able to live with them again as in a fantasy but the poem begins to contradict such thoughts with the Raven who tells him Nevermore because it won't happen and it begins to shock him back into reality. Pallas was the goddess of wisdom and war. The emotional war going on with Edgar's own heart it continues to play a major role within the poem. Midnight and December bring a new beginning a new start. Since Midnight is the start of a new day and December is the start of a new year. Maybe he is hoping that the new Year will bring hope to him and bring a part of fortune instead of misfortune that he hopes it will be Lenore. But the Raven continues to give a bleak outlook to the situation by repeating the word nevermore . I believe that maybe the velvet does symbolize death but also that of fortune because

-- Anonymous, December 02, 2003

"The Raven" is my favorite poem ever written, because i feel that i can relate to it after the loss of my mother and sister. I'm only fifteen years old, so my response may not mean much, but I believe I have an interpretation which might mean something to somebody else. First off, to me the Raven represents death or the memory of death in Poe's life. The tapping which he first hears is the memory of his loss attempting to haunt him. The darkness of the hall literally mean the absence of light, but I believe it to represent the absence of life or love in Poe's life. By opening the shutter, Poe allowed himself to remember the love he had lost, and the Raven flying in is the deathhe remembers. By perching itself above his chamber door, the memory is permanantly placing itself in the front of his mind. Nevermore, the name of the Raven, is altogether the meaning of death, expressed in stanza 10, "...as if his soul in that one word he did outpour." December and midnight could either symbolize the end in general, the end of Poe's life(the "winter" of his life), or just the saddness and darkness which he is experiencing. Throughout the poem, death is portrayed as stubborn, unmerciful, and infuriating, which are undoubtedly the feelings Poe had toward death after the loss of his beloved Lenore.

-- Anonymous, December 15, 2003

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