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Synopsis of Edgar Allan Poe's Poem, "The Raven"

Grade Levels

10th Grade, 11th Grade, 12th Grade, 7th Grade, 8th Grade, 9th Grade
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"The Raven" is probably Edgar Allan Poe’s most famous poem. In this poem, the narrator is a lonely, heartbroken man who is trying to recover from the recent death of Lenore, the woman he loved. As he is sitting in his study, reading, a mysterious raven suddenly appears at his window and then takes a spot directly on a sculptured bust of the goddess Pallas Athena, above the narrator’s door. The raven knows one word, "Nevermore".

What is striking about the poem is how it changes in mood from the narrator’s mere curiosity about the strange bird at the beginning of the poem, to his desperate, utterly depressed and hopeless feeling of gloom at the end. To the narrator, the bird possesses the power to first amuse and tease him, and then mock and torment him with the news of a life of endless misery and pain.  And all this is due to the raven’s repeating of the word, "Nevermore".


  1. The narrator attributes qualities of human thought and intentions to the raven (personification). What does the narrator believe the raven is saying or doing to him?
  2. How does the narrator feel about the bird's presence in his study?

Think About It

1. Find an example of each of the following literary techniques in the poem, "The Raven": alliteration, personification, internal rhyme, and end rhyme.

2. Summarize in your own words what the poem, "The Raven" is about.


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