What does the narrator ask of the raven in the poem "The Raven"?

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stolperia's profile pic

stolperia | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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The narrator asks several things of the raven through the course of the poem. Most of the questions are implied, but they are still there.

When the narrator first hears the "tapping at my chamber door," he ignores it. When it continues, he looks to see who is there. Finding no one, hope arises in his grief in spite of himself and he asks, "Lenore?"

Upon the entrance of the raven into the chamber, the narrator is surprised and somewhat amused by this strange creature. He attempts to learn more about his visitor by asking, "Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night's Plutonian shore!"

The most heartfelt question addressed to the raven is, "Is there balm in Gilead?" The narrator is asking if there is any healing available, any comfort for the broken heart afflicting him as a result of the death of his beloved Lenore.

Finally and desparately, the narrator pleads for some indication of the future whether there is any hope of reuniting with Lenore.

By that Heaven that bends above us- by that God we both adore-
Tell this soul with sorrow laden if, within the distant Aidenn,
It shall clasp a sainted maiden whom the angels name Lenore

And the answer to that question, as to all the rest, is "Nevermore."

laurto's profile pic

laurto | Student, Grade 10 | (Level 1) Valedictorian

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He asks if Lenore was in heaven. And whether he'll ever see her in heaven. The raven replies to all his questions by saying "nevermore". Actually all the raven says is "nevermore". 

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