How does the narrator's attitude change towards the raven as "The Raven" progresses?

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William Delaney eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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At first the speaker does not take the Raven very seriously. He assumes it is a tame bird that somehow escaped from its owner and is only seeking temporary shelter. He describes it in a facetious manner.

Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed he,
But with mien of lord or lady, perched above my chamber door--

He actually smiles at the bird and jokes with it:

Then the ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,
By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore...

Tell me what thy lordly name is...

He assumes that the Raven will leave him eventually, and he is still feeling some amusement in the middle of the poem:

But the Raven still beguiling all my sad soul into smiling...

But he begins to speculate about what, if anything, the bird means by ""Nevermore." The narrator is beginning to take the black bird more seriously. The Raven is not a symbol of a lost maiden but a symbol of death and always had been a symbol of death since the saintly days of yore. When we...

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