Internal Conflicts in "The Raven"A student recently posed this question to me, and I thought it would be useful to move it to the DBs.  His question is:  I think that the conflict in "The...

Internal Conflicts in "The Raven"

A student recently posed this question to me, and I thought it would be useful to move it to the DBs.  His question is: 

I think that the conflict in "The Raven" is internal, but I don't know.   What do you think?  

Expert Answers
bmadnick eNotes educator| Certified Educator
Internal Conflicts in "The Raven"

A student recently posed this question to me, and I thought it would be useful to move it to the DBs.  His question is: 

I think that the conflict in "The Raven" is internal, but I don't know.   What do you think?  

I've always considered the narrator's conflict to be internal. To me, the whole dialogue with the raven is in the narrator's mind. I'd be very interested to know what external conflicts the narrator might have in the poem.

accessteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I agree with #2 on this one - it is clear that the poem features a narrator who is projecting his own inner turmoil and fears onto the raven and therefore, in a sense, is torturing himself with his endless and evermore frenzied questioning of the raven. We are presented with a student who is desperately trying to come to terms with the death of his lost love, Lenore, but clearly he is plagued by her death and unable to move on. This is his central internal conflict that results in the poem.

litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Yes, I do think the conflict is internal.  I believe that the student pondering the forgotten lore while distracted by the bird is really distracted by his grief.  He is not fighting the bird, he is fighting himself.