Is there metaphor in "The Raven"?  

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shcashdan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Poe's "The Raven" percolates with metaphor, naming and describing one thing as if it were another, most of it injected by the speaker. Alone reading, he begins by calling a gentle tapping sound “some visitor” and addressing it as “Sir. . . or Madam.” Upon discovering only darkness, the speaker frets , imagining  he hears an “echo” which says “Lenore”; at that point, a raven enters through the open door and perches upon the bust of Pallas Athena above that door, the bust itself a metaphor for wisdom and the mind. Through the next stanzas, the speaker endows the raven with human powers, merely from hearing it say “nevermore.” As his grasp on reality becomes shakier, the speaker describes the very atmosphere of his chamber as air densely perfumed by “Seraphim” tiptoeing about while carrying censers. Continuing to deteriorate, the speaker first considers the bird another friend who will “fly”; frenzied, he then dubs it “Prophet,” “thing of evil,” “fiend,” and “devil.” The poem ends with a metaphor of stasis: the shadow of the raven, something alien and “other,” now overshadows his mind.