Questions about "The Raven" (please answer) : LUSENET : The Work of Edgar Allan Poe : One Thread

I have to find out about the symbols that are used in "The Raven", I have to find out what they mean, please help, these are the symbols

Dark Hall

The Bust of Pallas(Athena)

December and Midnight


The Chamber


-- Anonymous, October 26, 2004


With Mabbott as my source let me group a few around the theory that the original pome may have considered using an owl, the companion of Pallas Athena, symbolizing wisdom and prophecy. Owl as night bird, predator but relegated to a simple noise whereas the raven and minah bird family could repeat human sounding words. Nevermore was popular for its sound. its meaning was twofold(as much of Poe's symbolism) in that nevermore would he have hope of seeing Lenore alive but never also would her memory cease haunting him. Either way he's not going to get a lot of sleep.

Purple is a favorite color of Poe's(eyes, pansies) probably figuring the night as curtain shutting out light. Purple is a symbol of mourning and Poe calls this poem a "mournful and neverending remembrance". Rooms in Poe are dark and claustrophobic traps, perhaps emblematic of the mind(skull) itself as in "The Haunted Castle". The chamber door has no one outside, nor any noise discovered(mouth!) but the Raven comes in when he opens the shutters(eye?).

december solstice, shortest day, longest night at midnight the very apogee of darkness bbefore light and spring begin to wax. For Poe he feels himself trapped there and coming up short on hope.

-- Anonymous, October 26, 2004

the purple curtains are also velvet which is used as a lot as a coffin liner. this could mean that poe felt trapped and dead without his Lenore.

-- Anonymous, October 26, 2004

This website is very helpful, it also contains the symbolism you're looking for.

-- Anonymous, October 27, 2004

Dark Hall: the symbol refers to the setting. Halls are usually small, tight spaces. This can symbolize how the narrator feels (Poe is merely the poet of the story, there is no evidence that he is the narrator... remember there is the poet and the narrator, they are SEPARATE).

Bust of Pallas: Pallas symbollized wisdom. The narrator seems to be controlling, always knows the answer. The narrator is grieving, asking certain questions regarding Lenore. The Raven perches itself on Pallas- the bird represented the knowledge he was seeking. The narrator went mad after the bird refused to give him the answers he was looking for. Pallas was wisdom, BUT the right questions had to be asked.

December & Midnight: December - one of the coldest months. Death is cold. Midnight is the witching hour, the hour in which spirits can "roam." It is the coldest months of the coldest hour that the narrator speaks of, he is connected to DEATH.

"Nevermore." - The only answer of the Raven. It's the separation between the living realm and the dead realm. You can't transistion between the two worlds, the bird held him in his place. It's a final answer.

The Chamber - think of a schepulchre (tomb). It's a small place, definately dark. The narrator has sealed himself off from the world, he is detached.

Velvet (purple) - Purple is the color of royalty. But the color itself is dark, when it is velvet, it seems to be more black. In certain lights, it can look like blood (especially, if the light is in a dark setting).

-- Anonymous, October 28, 2004

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