Asked • 06/21/19

What does 'Gilead' mean in The Raven?

Poe's poem *The Raven* contains the following words in the fifteenth stanza: > [...] tell me truly, I implore— Is there—is there balm in Gilead?—tell me—tell me, I implore!" **What does 'Gilead' mean here?** I've looked it up on the internet, but [apparently](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gilead) the only places known as Gilead are real-life places in the Middle East - perhaps with some religious significance, but not literally Paradise. Why, then, does the narrator ask about "balm in Gilead"? What is the significance of this question put to the raven?

1 Expert Answer

By:

Heather W. answered • 06/21/19

Tutor
5.0 (91)

Literature instructor, specializing in Shakespeare

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