The Raven

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Pallas  Symbol Icon

“Pallas” refers to Pallas Athena, the Greek goddess of wisdom. The bust of Pallas in the narrator’s chamber represents his interest in learning and scholarship, and also can be taken as representing rationality in general and his own rational, sane mind in particular. The Raven, by landing on the bust when it flies into the room, signifies a threat to the narrator’s reason and the ability of rationality to analyze and understand the reasons (if any) behind the Raven’s coming and its message. That the Raven stays on top of the bust of Pallas at the end of the poem, never flitting, suggests the dominance of irrationality and fear over reason in general, and, more particularly, that irrationality has taken up a permanent home in the narrator’s formerly rational mind.

Pallas Quotes in The Raven

The The Raven quotes below all refer to the symbol of Pallas . For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Death and the Afterlife  Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Signet Classics edition of The Raven published in 2008.
The Raven Quotes

And the Raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting
On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door…

Related Characters: The narrator (speaker), The Raven (speaker)
Related Symbols: Pallas , The Raven
Page Number: 98
Explanation and Analysis:

The narrator has screamed at the bird to leave, but to no avail: the Raven sits and sits upon the bust of Pallas, continuing to haunt the narrator. In lingering on the bust, the Raven indicates the triumph of dark supernatural forces over those of cool, calm, and collected rationality. As the poem is told as a recollection, the last scene continues until the present day, meaning that the Raven “still is sitting” then, now, and potentially forever. Like the narrator’s memories of Lenore, the Raven refuses to leave the plagued narrator’s mind, causing him misery until the bitter end.

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Pallas Symbol Timeline in The Raven

The timeline below shows where the symbol Pallas appears in The Raven. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
The Raven
Memory and Loss  Theme Icon
The Supernatural and the Subconscious  Theme Icon
Rationality and Irrationality  Theme Icon
Ancient Influences  Theme Icon
...his window, and he opens it. The Raven flies in, perching atop a bust of Pallas above the door. At first, the narrator finds the bird’s “grave and stern decorum” amusing,... (full context)
Death and the Afterlife  Theme Icon
Memory and Loss  Theme Icon
The Supernatural and the Subconscious  Theme Icon
Rationality and Irrationality  Theme Icon
Ancient Influences  Theme Icon
...overcome by despair, while the Raven “never flitting, still is sitting” on the bust of Pallas. The narrator concludes by saying he continues to live in the bird’s inescapable shadow. (full context)