In Edgar Allan Poe's "The Raven," he uses a variety of poetic elements to enforce his theme of sadness and death for the loss of loved ones. "The Raven" is a dark reflection of loss of love, loss of hope, death, and the constant sorrow and torment that these things bring. Edgar Allan Poe uses alliteration, symbolism, and rhyme in "The Raven" to reveal the grief and constant torment one feels from the loss of a loved one.
Early in "The Raven" Poe reveals the narrators mental state and his constant sorrow for the loss of Lenore. Poe shows that the narrator is very tired and weak from something that happened in his life by stating, "Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered weak and weary" (465). The fact the event occurred in December is a symbol of the end of something when the narrator says, "Ah, distinctly I remember it was in a bleak December" (465).
This could possibly symbolize the death of his lost love Lenore. He is reading books to try and ease his mind of the constant sorrow that the loss of his loved one brings him. He continues, "vainly I had sought to borrow from my books surcease of sorrow-sorrow for the lost Lenore" (465).
The symbolic significance of the raven in the poem is vast. The ebony bird stands as the embodiment of grief caused by loneliness and separation. He symbolizes the torment of constant remembrance of the narrator's loss and lack of relief. In two instances the narrator asks the raven if there will be relief, "Quaff, oh quaff this kind nepenthe and forget this lost Lenore" (467). And "Is there-is there balm in Gilead?" (467).