What do the two questions posed at the end of the poem concern?

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jennifer-taubenheim eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The first thing he asks the raven to tell him is his name("...Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night's Plutonian shore..." Stanza 8).

The speaker continues talking and gets himself more and more worked up. He says something and the raven says, "Nevermore," which the speaker takes as a response. He addresses the bird as a prophet and asks, "On this home by horrow haunted- tell me truely, I implore- Is there- is there balm in Gilead? -tell me- tell me, I implore (Stanza 15)." Balm, is an ointment that is used to soothe pain and to heal wounds. The balm in Gilead that he mentions is a reference to the Old Testament of the Bible where Gilead was said to contain a powerful healing ointment. It is also a metaphor for the healing for ones soul (and salvation) that one can recieve from God. Basically he is asking the raven if his heart and soul will ever be healed. The raven answers, "Nevermore."

The he asks another question. "Tell this soul will sorrow laden if, within the distant Aidenn, It shall clasp a sainted maiden whom the angels name Lenore(Stanza 15)." The Aidenn that he refers to is actually Eden. Aidenn is the poetic way of referencing the biblical garden. The speaker is asking if, when he dies, he will be able to see Lenore again and, once again, the raven answers, "Nevermore."


itsmrd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

He asks the raven if there is a balm in Gilead. This is a Biblical reference to a salve to heal wounds. It is symbolic of all wounds being healed in heaven, such as his soul's wound from the loss of Lenore. The raven says there will be no healing. He asks if he will be able to hold Lenore in his arms again in heaven. Again, the answer is Nevermore.

Read the study guide:
The Raven

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