Towards the end of the story, what does the speaker want the raven to do in the short story "The Raven," by Edgar Allan Poe?

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favoritethings eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Toward the end of the poem, the speaker wants the raven to offer him some comfort.  He asks, "'is there balm in Gilead?—tell me—tell me, I implore!'"  Balm of Gilead was a rare medicinal perfume from the Bible, but it now signifies some kind of universal cure.  Thus, the speaker seems to be hoping that there is a cure, some cure, for his sorrow and pain.  

Next, the speaker asks if he will ever be reunited with Lenore, perhaps in death.  He says,

Tell this soul with sorrow laden if within the distant Aidenn,
It shall clasp a sainted maiden whom the angels name Lenore . . .

Aidenn is another word for Eden, or Paradise.  Thus the speaker seems to ask if he will be able to join Lenore, his dead lover, after he has died and they are both gone to heaven.  He, again, hopes that the bird can offer some kind of comfort to him since the prospect of never seeing Lenore again seems to be most troubling to him.  Of course, the bird offers no comfort.  In fact, since the bird will offer no comfort, the narrator orders him to leave, saying,

"Get thee back into the tempest and the Night's Plutonian shore! . . .
Leave my loneliness unbroken! — quit the bust about my door!"

Now, the speaker just wants the bird to leave, but it, of course, will not.  The narrator feels as though his soul will never leave the shadow the bird casts on the floor.  In other words, he will always be aware of his own mortality and the futility of his hopes of a reunion with Lenore.

bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

On the fast track to madness due to the loss of his lover Lenore, the speaker in Edgar Allan Poe's poem "The Raven" would like nothing more than for the raven to give him good news about her return. When he asks the bird if he and Lenore will be reunited in Heaven, it accordingly responds "Nevermore!" Unhappy at the response, the reader demands that the raven leave him alone and get back to the "Plutonian shore" (return to the Devil). However, the bird refuses to leave, again remarking "Nevermore!" and continues "still sitting" on its perch on the bust of Pallas above the chamber door.

laurto | Student

The speaker begins to ask the raven questions about Lenore. He wanted to know whether they'll be reunited. He also asks where it came from (specifically if he was with the devil). All the raven does is reply with "Nevermore!"

fagfagfagfagfag | Student



haddashaann | Student

The poem seems to me metaphoric. The narrator is having a hallucination. After he has spent most of the evening in sadness; to try to lift his spirit, he takes the drug nepenthe and ends up on a "trip." On this "trip," the raven flies into his "window" -- his soul. The  raven is black -- like his mood and his very soul because of losing Lenore. The "door" is his heart -- the tapping his heart beat. The "raven" or sadness/blackness is as lasting and enduring as the cold and stony bust of Pallas -- which means he will never be free of the memory of Lenore.

Respectfully submitted,


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The Raven

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