The lover, often identified as being a student, is lamenting the loss of his love, Lenore. Sitting on a bust of Pallas, the raven seems to further instigate his distress with its constant repetition of the word "Nevermore". The poem makes use of folk, mythological, religious, and classical references.
The major conflict is within the narrator's mind. He is so distraught by the loss of his love that it leads him to the brink of insanity. He appears throughout the poem to be fighting with the raven, but in actuality, he is struggling within himself.
The chamber in which the narrator is positioned, is used to signify the loneliness of the man, and the sorrow he feels for the loss of Lenore. The room is richly furnished, and reminds the narrator of his lost love, which helps to create an effect of beauty in the poem.
In Greek mythology, ravens are associated with Apollo, the god of prophecy. They are said to be a symbol of bad luck, and were the god's messengers in the mortal world. According to the mythological narration, Apollo sent a white raven, or crow in some versions to spy on his lover, Coronis.
The raven is a common iconic figure in Norse mythology. The highest god Odin had two ravens named Huginn and Muninn ("thought" and "memory" respectively) who flew around the world bringing back tidings to their master.
Both of these birds are extremely intelligent (though ravens seem a bit smarter than crows) and are quite playful. Ravens have at least 7 different calls and can imitate the calls of other birds (geese, jays, crows). They also use stunt flying to attract mates (barrel-rolling, flying upside-down, and somersaults).
Ravens (seen right here) often travel in pairs, while crows (left) are seen in larger groups. ... A crow's tail is shaped like a fan, while the raven's tail appears wedge-shaped. Another clue is to listen closely to the birds' calls. Crows give a cawing sound, but ravens produce a lower croaking sound.