A lonely man tries to ease his sorrow by reading books of the "forgotten sorrow-. However, he got interrupted by a tapping at his door. He goes to open up the door, but to his avail, there is nothing there. Into the darkness he whispers for his lost love, but all he heard back was a echo.
Sadly, he returns back away from the door, and realizes that that he now hears a tapping at the window. He then flung open the shutter to realize that there was a raven there, which is the bird of bad omen. The raven was there perched on a statue of Pallas, the goddess of wisdom in Greek mythology, above his door. The man asks the Raven for his name, and surprisingly it answers, and says that it's "Nevermore-. .
The man was afraid that the raven would be gone in the morning, but still was interested in why the bird kept saying "Nevermore-. Even though he knew that the birds speakings were irrational, he still had to ask the bird questions. He then proceeds to ask the bird all kinds of questions, and obviously, the bird replies with "Nevermore- every single time. Finally the man stops, realizing that to keep asking questions would be pointless. And his "soul from out that shadow" that the raven throws on the floor, "Shall be lifted -- Nevermore!".
In this poem Poe uses several symbols to take the poem to a higher level. The most important symbol is the raven itself. When Poe had decided to use a refrain that .
repeated the word "nevermore," he found that it would be more effective if he used a creature unable of reason to utter the word. It would not make sense to use a human, since the human could reason to answer the questions (Poe, 1850). In "The Raven" it is important that the answers to the questions are already known. This is used to illustrate the self-torture that the narrator exposes himself. This interpretation of signs that do not have any real meaning is "one of the most profound impulses of human nature" (Quinn 441).