The speaker is sleeping at night, but then is suddenly awakened by a tapping at his chamber door. He is saddened by this, remembering his lost love, Lenore. "Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing, doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dreamed before..."
The speaker is angry because when he asks if he will see Lenore again, the raven replies "Nevermore". The speaker then says, "Respite—respite and nepenthe from thy memories of Lenore". This shows that he wanted the memories of Lenore to be lost so it wouldn't be a burden in his heart.
The speaker never overcomes his sorrow of the Lost Lenore, and the raven never leaves. The speaker is at loss in his heart and doesn't know what to do anymore in life "And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor, shall be lifted—nevermore!"