EdgarPoe Works Creating Realistic Horror for Readers
EdgarAllan Poe was one of the American poets and author. He wrote a famouspoem, “The Raven.” The Raven is one the most famous poems by Poe,for the melodic and dramatic qualities of the poem. In the poem, thenarrator is seen to be visited by a talking raven that replies withthe word “nevermore” to every question of the narrator.Repetitions of the word “nevermore” tend to give a circular senseto the poem. Repetition also contributed to what the author, Poe,termed as the unity of effect, where each word and line of the poemadd contributes to the larger meaning of the whole poem. The unnamednarrator of the poem appeared in a typical Gothic setting. Over thecourse of the narration, there is a sense of protagonist that becomesmore agitated both in action and in the mind. In every stanza, nearthe end the narrator’s exclamations are punctuated by a calmdesolation of the words "Nevermore,” that reflected thedespair of the narrator’s soul.
Likesome of the Poe`s poems, "The Raven" indicated the agony ofa protagonist`s memories of the death of a woman, Lenore. Throughoutthe poem, the narrator is disturbed by Lenore`s premature death andhe is unable to free himself from the reliance upon her memory. Thenarrator asked the raven if there was "balm in Gilead" andwhether there was a spiritual salvation. He wanted to know if Lenorewould exist in the afterlife, but the raven in the poem confirmed thenarrator’s worst suspicions when he rejected his supplications. TheRaven confirms the fear of death or oblivion from the narrator. "TheRaven" is one of Poe’s bleakest publications as it providessuch a definitively negative answer.
Choosingof a raven as the bearer of ill news by Poe was appropriate for somereasons. Originally, Poe used a dumb beast that produced human-likesounds without understanding the words` meaning. Poe claimed thatearlier conceptions of "The Raven" involved the use ofparrots. The Raven was important because it allowed the narrator toplay the role of being the deliverer and the interpreter of thesinister messages. There was no existence of a blatantly supernaturalintervention.
Theselines are an example of how the raven is also portrayed as asupernatural creature, ““Prophet!” said I, “thing of evil! –prophet still, if bird or devil! By that Heaven that bends above us– by that God we both adore –/ Tell the soul with sorrow laden if,within the distant Aidenn…” (640).
Poeused the words devil and prophet to make the raven appear as a spiritvisiting the narrator. The Raven was an unknown ghost haunting thenarrator. The incidence of a ghost haunting the narrator makes mostreaders to suffer some horror while reading the poem. Some readersmay even experience nightmares due to the late hour of the poem`ssetting. The Raven served as a fragment of the narrator’s soul andas an animal equivalent of a psyche in the poem of "Ulalume."The Raven stimulated the thoughts of the narrator, and it caused hisfate through the medium of a non-sentient animal.
Anotherwork of Poe is the Tell-tale Heart, which was one of the Poe’sfiction writings. Poe described a most paranoid character in thestory, “The Tell-Tale Heart”. In the story, the narrator murderedanother man and buried him beneath the floorboards in the chamber.All in the first moments, but the narrator’s sanity began todeteriorate after the local police officers visited him. The narratorstarted to hallucinate very quickly. He was complaining that he couldhear the dead man’s heart he had buried still beating. The narratordescribed the feeling as a “low, dull, quick sound -much such asound as a watch makes when enveloped in cotton”, (Poe, 144). Theman was unable to run from sounds he was hearing because of thepolice officers.
Thenarrator got driven mad by the noise, finally screamed, “’Villains!’I shrieked, dissembling at all! I admit the killing! –tearing up theplanks shouting! here! here! –It is the beating of this old man`sheart!” (Poe, 144)
EdgarAllan Poe story “The Tell-tale Heart” provides an engagingpremise the murder of a man that provokes readers into anexploitation of actual motivation for the crime of murder. Thenarrator referred to “the disease” that had “sharpened hissenses” but remained firm by posting the question “Why would yousay that I am mad?” (Poe 145). The actions that the narrator didcombine with an insistence that he was not mad could lead readers toconclude that he was suffering from a psychological disorder. Thenarrator looked ill from a "disease" which made all hissenses very sensitive mostly the hearing senses. The narrator hadcomplained that he loved the old man and had nothing against him thatwould get him kill the old man. The only issue was the old man’shorrible eyes, which were pale blue with a film over them (Poe, 2).The narrator had hated the eyes and decided to kill the old man to befree of his horrible eyes.
Areader may get disturbed in imagining why someone would kill a fellowhuman being just because they do not like their eyes. The narratorused to go to the old man`s room every mid-night, for seven days tolight the lantern for him to see the old man’s eyes. Each night ofthe seven days, the old man did not open his eye, so the narratorfelt that there was no need to kill him. Unfortunately, on the eighthnight, the old man heard the narrator at his door, woke up, and gotmurdered by the narrator. The story of “The Tell-Tale Heart” canbe disturbing to a reader who imagined the incidence that took placein the story.
TheCask of Amontillado
Anotherwell-known story by Poe is “The Cask of Amontillado”. This storytook place in Italy and followed a slighted narrator, which wasseeking revenge. Like “The Tell-Tale Heart”, “The Cask ofAmontillado” also dealt with the burial of the antagonist, exceptthat the man was buried alive. The narrator had been complaining ofinsults received from Fortunato. He then decided to revenge bytelling Fortunato about some hidden vintage wine, Amontillado, in thecatacombs. Montresor eventually buried his friend. The story,therefore, looks tricky for the readers, as most of them wouldimagine being a victim of such friends.
Theterror of the fiction story “The Cask of Amontillado,” is seen inthe lack of evidence that accompanies Montresor’s claims ofFortunato’s for a thousand injuries and the insult. The storyportrayed revenge and secret murder that was used to avoid usinglegal ways for retribution. In the book, “The Cask of Amontillado”there was no law, and this forms the horror of a story of punishmentwithout proof. Montresor used his experience of Fortunato’s insultand named himself the “judge” and “the executioner” (Ming etal., 79). The names that Montresor gave himself made him become anunreliable narrator. Montresor confessed the story of killingFortunato fifty years after its occurrence. The passage of timebetween the happenings of events and the narrations made thenarrative more unreliable to the events. It became difficult to proofwhether there was an incidence of insult in the murder of Fortunato.“The Cask of Amontillado” took a subjective interpretation of thefact that different people interpret the same things differently,mostly towards horrific endpoint (Ming et al., 80).
Poeused a color imagery that was central to his questioning ofMontresor’s motives. Poe argued that the of Montresor was coveredin a black silk mask, that represented not blind justice but itsGothic opposite that was a biased revenge. In contrast, Poe referredto Fortunato as a motley-colored costume of the court fool, wholiterally and tragically got fooled by Montresor’s masked motives.The color schemes represented the irony of Fortunato’s deathsentence. Montresor chose the setting of a carnival for hisabandonment of the social order. The act of killing a friend in thename of insults and injuries instead of taking legal actions lookschallenging to internalize for most readers. To make it moredisturbing, Montresor pleaded guilty of killing his friend afterfifty years after the incidence. In the field of law, it is arguedthat justice delayed is justice denied therefore, Fortunato’sfamily did not get any justice after the acceptance
Ming,Lau Zhe, and Wan Roselezam Wan Yahya. "Monstresor’s NeuroticProjections and Paranoia in Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Cask ofAmontillado”." Research on Humanities and Social Sciences 3.15(2013): 79-83.
Poe,Edgar Allan. The Raven. The Norton Anthology of American Literature.Vol. B. Eighth Edition. Ed. Nina Baym. New York: Norton, 2012.637-640. Print.
Poe,Edgar Allan. The tell-tale heart. Hayes Barton Press, 1958.