What is the point of view in "The Raven" by Poe and how does it relate to the general theme?  

The narrator's emotional instability and the unreliability of his narration in Edgar Allan Poe's "The Raven" contribute to what Poe calls the "theme" or the suggestive "under-current" of the poem. This "theme" isn't one of the obvious elements of the poem, such as loss, grief, death, madness, or despair, but "the human thirst for self-torture" that underlies the narration, and which Poe believes exists in the narrator and in the reader of the poem.

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Point of view is the "eye" through which a story is told. The narrator in Edgar Allan Poe's poem "The Raven" uses the words "I," "me," and "my" throughout the poem, indicating that the poem is told from the first-person central point of view. The narrator is at the center of the events of the poem, not peripheral to the story, and it's through the narrator's "eye" and the narrator's perceptions that the events of the poem unfold and are observed and interpreted.

A first-person narrator can be reliable or unreliable. A reliable narrator is a narrator who is essentially trustworthy. What the reliable narrator presents to the reader is based on their own experience, and the narrator appears to be relatively objective, accurate, consistent, impartial, and truthful in that presentation.

An unreliable narrator is notably subjective or biased, misunderstands or misinterprets what they observe, and cannot be trusted to present events and their reactions to those events objectively and truthfully to the...

(The entire section contains 5 answers and 1199 words.)

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Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on December 4, 2020
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