What does surcease mean in the raven?

Updated: November 28, 2022
The word surcease is used in the poem to mean "cease" or "stop." In other words, the speaker is asking the raven to stop talking to him.
Detailed answer:

The word “surcease” means “to come to an end or desist from action.” It’s a transitive verb and can mean both “to stop” and “to come to an end.” In other words, it means to make an end to something or desist from action. It can also mean to influence someone or something by trickery.

The narrator is pondering the nature of the raven, while sitting on a soft velvet cushion, surrounded by lamplight. The narrator is overcome with a feeling of loss and a desire for peace. He remembers his beloved wife, Lenore.

The narrator is deeply troubled by his recent loss and wants the raven to come home to the storm and leave the chamber. The raven, however, tells him that it will never come home. The narrator interprets the raven’s response as his agreement, but it may not have understood what he said.

“The Raven” is one of the most famous poems in the English language. It’s widely anthologized and referenced in popular culture. The poem is about the narrator’s mourning over the death of his lover Lenore. When the narrator closes his eyes in grief, he begins to see his beloved Lenore’s spirit, and hears her whispering her name.

Among the literary devices Poe employed in “The Raven” are internal rhyme, repetition, and onomatopoeia. The author also believed that each word in a poem should have a particular effect, and thus, he used these devices throughout the poem.

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