What are the four questions the narrator asks the Raven? 

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beateach | Elementary School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

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In Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Raven,” the narrator asks a number of questions. In the first three stanzas, he explains that he was reclining looking at books when he hears a gentle rapping. Thinking someone is at his door he opens it,  wondering who might be there and asks forgiveness for being slow to answer. He says, “Lenore?” hoping it is his deceased love but only hears the echo of his words.

He realizes the rapping is at his window, which he opens to find the Raven. In the eighth stanza, after the Raven enters his room, the speaker asks his name, “Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night’s Plutonian shore!” The Raven answers, “Nevermore.”

The speaker comes to believe that God sent the bird as he feels angels in his room. He asks the Raven if there “is balm in Gilead?” This refers to a salve made from plant that grows in the area around Gilead. It is said to have mysterious powers of healing a broken heart. Again, the Raven answers, “Nevermore.”

Finally, the heartbroken man speaks to the Raven, “Tell this soul with sorrow laden if, within the distant Aidenn, It shall clasp a sainted maiden whom the angels name Lenore.” He is inquiring if he will see his beloved Lenore in “Aidenn” which is an Arabic word for Paradise. Again, the Raven answers, “Nevermore.”

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