In "The Raven" how does the narrator's emotional state change during the poem?

Expert Answers info

engtchr5 eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2008

write591 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

The poem unfolds in such a way that the author or narrator progresses from mild annoyance to absolute madness or insanity. He, at first, is rather intrigued by the bird, until he realizes that the bird's one-word vocabulary (Nevermore) is merely a reflection of his own tortured grief. It is the repetition of this word that drives our narrator insane by the poem's end, as he recalls and deeply laments the loss of his one love, Lenore.

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

mrs-campbell eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2008

write2,159 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, Social Sciences, and Arts

He starts off just sitting in his chair, reading a book, and he describes himself as "weak and weary."  He was so weary that he didn't even get up to answer the knocking at his door.  He then describes, in more detail, his emotional state.  He is longing for his lost love, a bit depressed, and had sought an escape from that longing in his book.  He says, "eagerly I wished the morrow," and he has "sorrow for the lost Lenore".

But then, he starts to become alarmed and scared.  He says the knocking "filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before" and he gathers courage to go open the door.  He stands there, describing his emotional state.  He is "wondering, fearing, doubting, dreaming."  He is really disturbed now, and getting a bit freaked out.  He stays pretty scared.  Later he opens the door again "with many a flirt and flutter" of his heart.

Once the raven appears, his fear turns to awe and amazement as it speaks the words, "Nevermore."  He says, "much I marvelled", and he was "startled much that the stillness was broken".  He then turns ponderous.  He sits down and "betook myself to linking Fancy unto fancy, thinking what this ominous bird of yore—...Meant in...

(The entire section contains 3 answers and 574 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now


check Approved by eNotes Editorial

mwestwood eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2006

write16,149 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

check Approved by eNotes Editorial


susiebyrd123 | Student

When does the narrator transition from lonely to angry?

susiebyrd123 | Student

Shift in mood from the Raven