The Raven

The narrator Character Analysis

Poe’s unnamed narrator is a scholar who is mourning the death of his beloved, Lenore. He is alone in his house on a cold December midnight, trying to distract himself from his thoughts of her by reading old books. The narrator is a scholar, learned and reasonable, yet his logic and knowledge do not much help him to recover from the impact of Lenore’s death or to escape his desperate hope to see her again. His desperation leads him to emotional extremes, from depression to near euphoria and finally to depression once the Raven pronounces that he and Lenore will be apart forever. It is never made clear whether a supernatural Raven actually visits him and drives him to an ultimate despair, or whether his own obsessive doubts lead him to imagine the Raven, but in either case the Raven overthrows the narrator’s rational mind.

The narrator Quotes in The Raven

The The Raven quotes below are all either spoken by The narrator or refer to The narrator. 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 numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Signet Classics edition of The Raven published in 2008.
The Raven Quotes

Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore…

Related Characters: The narrator (speaker), Lenore
Page Number: 92
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation long mobile

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And the only word there spoken was the whispered word, “Lenore?”
This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the word, “Lenore!”

Related Characters: The narrator (speaker), Lenore
Page Number: 93
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile

Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night’s Plutonian shore!

Related Characters: The narrator (speaker), The Raven
Page Number: 94
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile

“Doubtless,” said I, “what it utters is its only stock and store”…

Related Characters: The narrator (speaker), The Raven
Related Symbols: The Raven
Page Number: 95
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile

Then, upon the velvet sinking, I betook myself to linking
Fancy unto fancy…

Related Characters: The narrator (speaker), The Raven
Related Symbols: The Raven
Page Number: 96
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile

Then, methought, the air grew denser, perfumed from an unseen censer
Swung by Seraphim whose foot-falls tinkled on the tufted floor…

Related Characters: The narrator (speaker)
Page Number: 96
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile

“Quaff, oh quaff this kind nepenthe and forget this lost Lenore!”

Related Characters: The narrator (speaker)
Page Number: 96
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile

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:
Quotes explanation short mobile

And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor
Shall be lifted—nevermore!

Related Characters: The narrator (speaker), The Raven
Related Symbols: The Raven
Page Number: 98
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile
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The narrator Character Timeline in The Raven

The timeline below shows where the character The narrator appears in The Raven. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
The Raven
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
On a cold night, at midnight, the narrator is sitting by himself, “weak and weary,” reading an old book full of “forgotten lore”... (full context)
Death and the Afterlife Theme Icon
Memory and Loss Theme Icon
The narrator then explains that he remembers that all this happened back in December. As the fire... (full context)
Death and the Afterlife Theme Icon
The Supernatural and the Subconscious Theme Icon
Rationality and Irrationality Theme Icon
When the curtains rustle, the narrator is suddenly frightened. Once again he tells himself that it’s merely a visitor, and “nothing... (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
The narrator opens the door, only to find that nobody is there. He stands at the entrance... (full context)
Memory and Loss Theme Icon
The Supernatural and the Subconscious Theme Icon
Rationality and Irrationality Theme Icon
Ancient Influences Theme Icon
Suddenly, the narrator hears a knocking at his window, and he opens it. The Raven flies in, perching... (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
The narrator then perceives that the air has become “denser, perfumed from an unseen censer,” and says... (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
Growing more anxious, the narrator asks the Raven if there is “balm in Gilead” —if heaven will give him some... (full context)