Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed he;
But, with mien of lord or lady, perched above my chamber door – ”
“But the Raven, sitting lonely on the placid bust, spoke only
That one word, as if his soul in that one word he did outpour.”
The embers of the fire assume the properties of a ghost.
“And the silken sad uncertain rustling of each purple curtain”
A human quality of being uncertain is attributed to the curtains.
A sinister form of exaggeration, a human voice seems to be murmuring back without any human presence.
“Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,”
An inanimate object is given the human ability of smiling.
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door –
“‘Tis some visitor,” I muttered, “tapping at my chamber door -“
The narrator compares the tapping sound (of the raven) with that of a human tapping, it’s not actually the sound of tapping, but he feels as if he heard a knock on the door.
Another mythological allusion in which the narrator demands of the ominous bird to “Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night’s Plutonian shore!” Pluto is the Greek god the Underworld. The underworld is a dark dismal place, which is the present state of mind of the narrator as he languishes between life and death. The word “shore” may also be an allusion to the River Styx, which subsisted between the Earth and the Underworld. The river was navigated by Charon, the ferryman who channeled deceased souls from the earthly shore to the Underworld. This too conveys the narrator’s internal torment.
The biblical allusion is the reference to “perfumed from an unseen censer/Swung by Seraphim whose foot-falls tinkled on the tufted floor.” In the Bible, these creatures are six-footed and winged. They surround the God’s throne, repeating just one word: “Holy, holy, holy!” In this way, they have something in mutual with the winged raven, who choruses “nevermore.”
In another biblical allusion, the narrator cries out, saying, “is there no balm in Gilead?” this verse is taken from Jeremiah 8:22: “Is there no balm in Gilead; is there no physician there?” The “balm of Gilead” is mentioned several times in the Bible, it is made from the gum of a bush that grows plentifully in Gilead (an area East of the Jordan River) and is used medicinally to heal cuts and wounds. The narrator wants it as a spiritual comfort for his aching soul.