List three verbs that show what the poem's narrator is doing in the first stanza.

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price7781 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

“The Raven” by Edgar Allan Poe

Stanza 1 (Verbs describing the narrator’s actions are in bold.)

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary.

Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore—

While I nodded, nearly napping,

Suddenly there came a tapping,

As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.

“Tis some visitor,” I muttered, “tapping at the chamber door—

Only this and nothing more.”

The opening stanza of “The Raven” sets the scene for the rest of the poem.  The narrator is sitting in his library or study reading about some old, forgotten story (lore) he has found in one of the volumes of his books.  He is pondering, or thinking about the tale, but is also sleepy.  He is weak and weary; he is tired because it is late at night.  He can hardly keep his eyes open and nods asleep and awake while taking short naps.   He hears a tapping on the door that startles him or catches him off guard, and mutters to himself that it must only be “some visitor” and “nothing more.”  

The lore that he is reading at the time has peaked his imagination because it is a story about a dead woman named, Lenore, and he is unsure of who or what is causing the rapping.   The setting is spooky and scary; it is December and cold, dark and mysterious, and the narrator is suddenly awakened by the rapping.   The whole setting fills him with terror—the curtains are blowing, there is only darkness—and he has been startled awake.  He calls out, “Lenore?”, and the rest of the poem becomes a nightmare as his imagination runs wild and to the macabre.

kipling2448 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Three verbs in the first stanza of Edgar Allan Poe's poem "The Raven" are "pondered," "napping," and "muttered."

Poe's poem depicts an individual, a male, presumably, sitting alone in his study or library. It is late at night ("a midnight dreary") and the narrator is seemingly relaxing before going to bed with a book. While he is relaxing with a book, however, his use of the phrase "weak and weary" suggests that it has been a tiring day and a melancholy one, the reasons for which will be revealed in subsequent passages.

The use of the verbs "pondering," "napping," and "muttered" all convey to the reader the narrator's physically and mentally diminished state, as is often the case when one is up late and contemplating or pondering one's station in life, and of his unhappiness with having his solitude interrupted by the "rapping" on his chamber door.

This being the first stanza, the reader is yet to become acquainted with the reason for the narrator's melancholy state, the loss of his love, Lenore. Nor is the reader yet informed of the identity of the individual rapping on the narrator's door. All the reader knows is that the narrator is up late, relaxing with a book, and wearily contemplating his situation when his solitude is interrupted.