CRITICAL PERSPECTIVE According to Christoffer Nilsson, who maintains a website dedicated to the works of Poe, “The Raven” was composed with almost mathematical precision. When writing the stanza in which the interrogation of the raven reaches its climax (third stanza from the end), Poe wanted to make certain that no preceding stanza would “surpass this in rhythmical effect”: Poe then worked backwards from this stanza and used the word “Nevermore” in many different ways, so that even with the repetition of this word, it would not prove to be monotonous. Poe builds the tension in this poem up, stanza by stanza, but after the climaxing stanza he tears the whole thing down, and lets the narrator know that there is no meaning in searching for a moral in the raven's “nevermore.”

Do you agree with Nilsson that it makes no sense to look for a moral in the raven's “nevermore”? What kind of moral, if any, do you think “Nevermore” implies for the speaker?

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