In "The Raven," how do the raven's replies keep reminding the speaker and the audience of Lenore?

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accessteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

It is entirely fitting that a poem that is about the effects of obsession on the human psyche should internally, in its rhyme and rhythm, repeatedly refer back to the focus of that obsession. In this poem we are presented with a student, studying late at night in "bleak December" who is trying to find release or to drown his sorrow over the death of his love, Lenore. When the raven enters the room, what the speaker says and how he accuses the raven reveals far more about the speaker's own internal anguish and sorrow than it does about the raven, however note how the raven's single-word response, "Nevermore," continually forces us to remember Lenore, which is the topic of so many of the speaker's questions, because the two words rhyme. In the speaker's mind, therefore, the raven and his response is set against the name of his love and possibilities of their reunion, creating a maddening conflict that literally dominates and crushes his mind:

And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor
Shall be lifted - nevermore!

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The Raven

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