In Poe's poem "The Raven," is the raven a symbol for wisdom?

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In a literary work, symbolism is open to interpretation. One item may seem obviously symbolic to one reader while the next reader sees it as a simple object. Similarly, the same object might represent one concept to one reader and a different concept to another reader, or a single object may have several symbolic meanings. The raven in Edgar Allan Poe's eponymous poem could possibly have multiple interpretations as a symbol. However, any symbolic interpretation of the raven must be supported by evidence from the poem.

The most obvious meaning of the unusual speaking bird is that it represents depression, pessimism, or grief. The bird is black, a depressing hue and speaks a single pessimistic word, "Nevermore." The persona of the poem calls it a "prophet," a "devil," and a "thing of evil." These appellations are consistent with it representing something negative, dark, or harmful. The speaker assumes it comes from "the Night’s Plutonian shore"—that is, the underworld or the abode of...

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