In the poem "The Raven" by Edgar Allan Poe , the narrator gets an unexpected visit from a raven. Surprisingly, the raven can speak, but the only word it seems capable of uttering is "Nevermore." The speaker makes a few attempts to explain the origin of his visitor....
In the poem "The Raven" by Edgar Allan Poe, the narrator gets an unexpected visit from a raven. Surprisingly, the raven can speak, but the only word it seems capable of uttering is "Nevermore." The speaker makes a few attempts to explain the origin of his visitor. First, he surmises that the bird has learned to speak its word from its master who suffered serial disappointments. The narrator then begins thinking about his lost Lenore. He imagines he smells something and hears footsteps. He exclaims that God is sending him a forgetting potion--nepenthe--that will make him forget Lenore. He speaks that aloud, and the raven replies, "Nevermore!"
At this the narrator becomes angry at the bird and suggests that it may be a visitor sent from the devil. This is what he means when he says, "Whether Tempter sent." He believes the bird to be a prophet, thing of evil, bird, or devil--some agent sent by Satan to cause him further torment. Alternately, he suggests the raven may have arrived simply because the "tempest tossed thee here ashore." This possible explanation for the bird's origin gives the narrator hope to ask it another question, to which he does not receive the desired answer.
Though the narrator does not say specifically why the bird was sent, if it was, the word "Tempter" indicates a desire to bring emotional harm and to cause the man to make bad choices. If the bird is a "prophet," it comes with a message. If sent by God, the message would be true, but if sent by the devil, the message would be a lie. In the penultimate stanza the narrator accuses the bird of having lied, so by that time he seems to believe that the bird has been sent by the devil to cause him further emotional pain.