What is the narrator's state of mind in "The Raven"?

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The narrator in "The Raven" begins in a state of depression and loneliness due to the loss of Lenore. He initially tries to distract himself with reading, but becomes intrigued and then obsessed with a raven that only answers "Nevermore." His state of mind deteriorates as he questions the raven about Lenore and receives negative responses, leading him to anger and despair. By the end of the poem, he believes his soul is trapped in sorrow forever.

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In Poe's "The Raven," the speaker begins the poem feeling depressed and lonely, mourning the loss of Lenore. In one of the early stanzas, the speaker confesses that he is in his study reading in hopes of distracting himself from his "sorrow for the lost Lenore" (line 10). At this point, the speaker hears a sound and assumes there must be someone knocking at his door. However, it is the raven he hears.

The speaker is at first intrigued by the raven and begins questioning it. However, the raven only ever answers "Nevermore." Some readers might say the speaker is mad and is driven madder over the course of the poem, as seen by his increasingly intense exchanges with the raven. We can definitely see that the speaker becomes obsessed with the raven and thinks it can provide answers to his darkest queries. He asks, for example, whether

" . . . thy God hath lent thee—by these angels he hath sent thee
Respite—respite and nepenthe from thy memories of Lenore;
Quaff, oh quaff this kind nepenthe and forget this lost Lenore!” (81-83)
Of course, the raven answers, "Nevermore" (84). These lines basically mean that the speaker will not be able to forget Lenore. The same idea continues in the next stanza when the speaker asks the raven, "Is there—is there balm in Gilead?" (89). The speaker desperately wants to know if there will be any peace or healing for him in the aftermath of Lenore's death. The raven's answer proves to him that no, he will not have any relief and will continue to mourn.
At this point, the speaker becomes increasingly angry with the raven, calling it names like "thing of evil" and "devil" (91). He wants the bird to leave now that it has not given him the answers he desires, including the answer to his question of whether he and Lenore will be reunited in the afterlife (92-95). The raven, of course, will never leave. He stays with the speaker, perched on the bust of Athena. The speaker ends the poem by saying that his soul is now trapped in a "shadow" that "Shall be lifted—nevermore!" (108). The speaker's fate is sealed: he will never recover from the death of Lenore, nor from this encounter with the raven.
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Early in the poem, the narrator's state of mind is quite melancholic: he is depressed over the loss of his lover, Lenore, and this affects the way he describes everything.  It is not just midnight, it is "a midnight dreary"; similarly, it is not simply December, or even cold December, it is "the bleak December."  The embers in the fireplace are "dying," and each one "wrought its ghost upon the floor."  All of these descriptions reflect his emotional state.  Finally, he says that he has been reading these old books because he had "vainly . . . sought to borrow / From [his] books surcease of sorrow."  The narrator admits, then, the reason for his sadness and that he had been reading in order to escape it.  It seems to pervade his whole being, as grief so often does.

Soon, however, the "silken sad uncertain rustling" of the curtains "thrill" him and fill him with terror.  With his heart beating fast and adrenaline coursing through him, he goes to answer the door.  His fear gradually subsiding, he opens it to find no one there.  He is, next, filled with wonder at the darkness.  He "stood there wondering, fearing / Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortals ever dared to dream before."  He seems hopeful now that it might be the spirit of Lenore returned to him.  The narrator's wonderment extends to the strange bird that flies in when he opens the window.

His state of mind changes quite a bit as the poem progresses.

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The narrator’s state of mind does not remain stagnant in “The Raven” by Edgar Allan Poe. The first two lines of the poem, characterize him as tired and bored as he reposes reading old familiar books.

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary, Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore—

He is lonely and forlorn as he misses his beloved, Lenore who has passed away. He is wishing his days away as they are filled with melancholy.

Eagerly I wished the morrow;—vainly I had sought to borrow

From my books surcease of sorrow—sorrow for the lost Lenore—

He becomes frightened by the arrival of the unknown visitor.

And the silken, sad, uncertain rustling of each purple curtain

Thrilled me—filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before;

 After the arrival of the Raven he becomes more agitated and even aggressive as he begins to torture himself as he questions the Raven knowing full well that the raven will only answer “Nevermore.” He “shrieks” at the bird. At one point he seems to become delusional feeling angels in the room, and he questions whether the Raven is a bird or the devil. He continues in this agitated state until he loses his soul at the end of the poem.

On this home by Horror haunted—tell me truly, I implore—

Is there—is there balm in Gilead?—tell me—tell me, I implore!”

Quoth the Raven “Nevermore.”

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Characterize the narrator’s state of mind in "The Raven." Find two pieces of evidence to support this claim.

Edgar Allen Poe's The Raven begins with a sense of quiet, calm melancholy. The narrator is looking through a number of "curious volumes of forgotten lore" for some words of solace to relieve his sorrow for "the lost Lenore."

"Suddenly there came a tapping," which surprises the narrator and lifts him out of his reverie. He seems excited by the prospect of having a visitor at his door who will distract him from his melancholy and relieve his sadness.

The narrator is frightened, but expectant.

And the silken sad uncertain rustling of each purple curtain
Thrilled me—filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before...

He opens the door, but sees nothing but darkness.

Disappointed, but still excited by the prospect of someone at the door, he turns back into the room and hears the tapping again.

This time, he goes to the window and enthusiastically flings open the shutter. In steps the raven, flapping and fluttering, and it takes its place on the bust of Pallas above the door.

His melancholy momentarily forgotten, the narrator is beguiled and amused by the raven. He smiles, and he marvels at the raven's ability to speak, even if the only word he speaks is "Nevermore."

The narrator pulls a cushioned chair in front of the door, below the raven perched on the bust of Pallas and muses about what the raven means by "Nevermore."

The narrator leans back into the violet velvet cushions on the chair, and his melancholy suddenly returns when he remembers that Lenore will never again lean into that same cushion as she did so many times before.

The narrator reacts violently to being shocked back to reality and reminded of his "lost Lenore." He shouts at the raven, ordering it out of the room and back into the night, but the raven doesn't move. It sits on the bust above the door, its "fiery eyes" burning deep into the narrator's heart and soul.

The narrator slumps back into the chair, and he falls into what Poe called in "The Philosophy of Composition," a state of "mournful and never-ending remembrance."

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