The Theme of Conflict in Conscience in Poe’s The Raven

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About this sample


Words: 634 |

Page: 1|

4 min read

Published: Aug 6, 2021

Words: 634|Page: 1|4 min read

Published: Aug 6, 2021

The poem, written by Allan Poe, “The Raven”, speaks about an unnamed character who is alone in his house on a cold December evening. As he is about to fall asleep he hears a knock on the door, however, he decides to ignore it. He goes on to read in the hopes of reliving the sorrow for his “lost Lenore”. He then hears tapping on his window and when he goes to open it a raven flies in. He jokingly asks for the ravens' name and raven respond with “Nevermore” he then asks the raven if the angles that appeared are a sign that he will relive his sorrow and again the raven responds with “Nevermore”. 

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This entire poem relates to the course theme of Conflict in Conscience because since his sorrow and mourning of his lost Lenore has led the character to an irrational state of mind. The narrator perceives that the air has become “denser, perfumed from an unseen censer,” and says it must indicate the presence of “Seraphim,” or angels, sent from God to help him recover from his grief over losing Lenore. He wonders if he might be able to “quaff this kind nepenthe”. The narrator hoped to be reunited with Lenore by supernatural means. Now suddenly he senses another possibility, that he might be saved from his painful memories by supernatural means: the “nepenthe,” a mythological potion of forgetfulness. This point toward how the loss of his Lenore has led the character to an irrational state of mind which unable to understand the Raven simple response of “Nevermore”. Another key point in showing how the conflict of conscience is evident in the poem is how death and the grieving for the dead is an inescapable situation which also diminishes someones ability to reason. 

Toward the end of the poem the narrator is 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, which is symbolic of how death and grieving for the death is an inescapable situation. The Raven’s refusal to leave parallels the narrator’s memories of Lenore, which likewise never dissipates, suggesting that death and grieving for the dead are inescapable. Further, the Raven sitting, forever, on the bust of Pallas suggests that the narrator’s ability to reason has been permanently diminished and overwhelmed by the unknowable. 

Lastly when someone is grieving his state of mind is vulnerable which further affects his conscious. When 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 and asks it for its name. To his bemusement, the bird responds “Nevermore.” The narrator remarks to himself that what the Raven says must be “stock and store,” words picked up by copying those from a previous master. But, unable to contain his curiosity, he grabs a velvet chair and sits directly in front of the bird, trying to understand what this “ominous bird of yore” means by “Nevermore.” All the while, he imagines that Lenore might be near. Note how at first the narrator finds the bird merely amusing, and he quickly develops a rational answer to how the bird learned the word “Nevermore.” But curiosity the desire to learn more, to venture into the unknown drives him to want to understand the bird. And his sense of Lenore’s presence implies that his curiosity is driven without the rational sense that the bird might be able to give him news of his lost love. 

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As addressed “The Raven” written by Allan Poe relates to the course theme of Conflict in Conscience through the characters’ Death and Denial, the diminished ability to reason due to grief and finally through Irrational and rational thinking. 

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Dr. Charlotte Jacobson

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The Theme Of Conflict In Conscience In Poe’s The Raven. (2021, August 06). GradesFixer. Retrieved July 18, 2024, from
“The Theme Of Conflict In Conscience In Poe’s The Raven.” GradesFixer, 06 Aug. 2021,
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