What is the speaker feeling and doing at the end of "The Raven"?

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William Delaney eNotes educator| Certified Educator

At the end of the poem the speaker is feeling totally overwhelmed with grief at the loss of the loved one named Lenore. Early in the poem he says he "wheeled a cushioned seat in front of bird and bust and door." Presumably at the end of the poem he is sitting completely motionless in that cushioned seat with the raven still looking down at him. He says that the bird and the bust of Pallas cast a shadow on the floor and that his heart will never be lifted out of that shadow again. The bird evidently symbolizes the remembrance of his loss of Lenore, and the bust of Pallas, the Goddess of Wisdom, symbolizes the cold light of reason which tells him there is no afterlife in which he might hope to be reunited with Lenore. There is no "balm in Gilead." The final words of the poem, like the final word of each refrain, is "Nevermore."