The poem starts with a knocking on the speaker's door, which he thinks is just a stranger. When the raven makes its first appearance, the speaker describes it as stately, with a countenance likened to that of a lord or lady (which basically means it stands tall and upright, with confidence). It is not until the raven first says, "Nevermore" that the mood begins to change. First, the speaker is simply surprised that the raven spoke, and then there is some despair and melancholy between the two of them, as if that one word weighed heavily on them both. But as the speaker sits on his floor and stares at the raven, contemplating what it meant by saying, "Nevermore," he becomes angry, calling the raven a wretch, a fiend, a demon.