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Edgar Allan Poe was born in Boston on January 19, 1809. His mother, Elizabeth Arnold Poe, was an actress. His father, David Poe, Jr., had pursued a less successful career on the stage punctuated by alcoholic binges. Poe's father apparently abandoned his family around the time of Edgar's second birthday. We do know that his mother took Edgar, his brother William, and sister Rosalie with her to Richmond, Virginia sometime in 1811, and that she died there in December of that same year.
Edgar was separated from his siblings and placed in the care of a childless couple, John and Frances Allan. John Allan was an English/Scottish merchant who kept a tight hold on the family's purse strings but who also recognised the value of education. In 1815, he took his wife and "stepson" (Edgar was never legally adopted by the Allans) to England on an extended business trip. In England, Edgar spent his early childhood at prestigious boarding academies, including the Manor House School of Doctor Bransby at Stoke Newington. Evidently, he was an excellent student: in 1819. It was while he was in England that young Edgar first became acquainted with the Gothic literature that was popular in Europe at the time.
When Allan returned to Richmond in 1820, Edgar continued his education at private schools, studying Latin, verse, and oratory. He was also an athletic youth, a superior swimmer and marksman. But he was not popular. He was taunted by his peers as the son of actors who occupied an odd status in the Allan household as an unadopted stepson. Poe received support and encouragement from the mother of a classmate, Jane Stith Stanard, but she died of a brain tumor when he was fifteen years old. Around this time, John Allan's trading firm suffered a series of financial setbacks, the company itself was dissolved, and Poe's stepfather took to extramarital affairs and to the bottle.
In 1825, John Allan inherited a large sum of money, and this abrupt reversal of fortune enabled him to enrol Edgar at the University of Virginia. Shortly before his departure for college, Poe began to court a fifteen-year-old woman named Sarah Elmira Royster. Whether the two were engaged before he left for college is unclear; that he was serious about his intention to marry Sarah is fairly certain. Poe entered the University of Virginia in 1826 at the age of seventeen, concentrating on classical and modern languages. But he found it difficult to maintain a gentleman's life style on the relatively meagre allowance that John Allan furnished to him. He took to gambling and compiled debts of honour amounting to some $2,000, an enormous sum in the 1820s.
John Allan refused to pay these debts; Poe left school and returned to Richmond where he worked for a time in Allan's counting house. When he tried to renew his courtship of Sarah Royster, her parents first told him that she was abroad; he eventually learned that his first fiancée had become engaged to another young man. Alienated from his stepfather and rejected by Sarah's family. Poe set out on his own, moving first to Baltimore in March, 1827 and then back to the city of his birth, Boston, where he took the first of several pseudonyms, calling himself Henri Le Rennet. It was in Boston that Poe wrote the first poems that would eventually bear his real name. Without a regular source of income, Poe joined the army at the age of eighteen, enlisting under the fictitious name of Edgar A.
Perry. With his keen mind and still sturdy body, Poe did well in the military, rising to the rank of sergeant major during his two years stint. While he was stationed at Fort Independence, Poe prevailed upon a local published to print his first volume of verses, Tamerlane and Other Poems, By a Bostonian in1827 under the name of Edgar Perry. To these, he would eventually add six new poems for a volume that would be published in Baltimore under his real name at the end of 1829. By then, tragedy struck Poe's life once more. In February, 1829, Poe's stepmother, Frances Allen, died, the third mother figure in his life to suffer an untimely death.
The death of Frances Allan set the stage for reconciliation between Poe and John Allan. According to some accounts, it was through Allan's influence that Poe received an appointment to the United States Military Academy at West Point. He did enter West Point in July, 1830, but a few months later he learned that John Allan had remarried a woman with children and realised that he would never receive any inheritance from his stepfather. Poe resumed his losing ways at cards, drank heavily, and neglected his duties, refusing to leave his room at the Academy for days on end: he was dismissed from West Point in March, 1831. Poe took up residence at the home of his aunt, Maria Clemm, with her young Virginia Clemm, and Poe's paternal grandmother. Shortly thereafter, he brought out a third slim volume of poems; like its predecessors, this third book was comprised on verses on conventional romantic subjects, notably the myth of an idealised world of beauty and joy recaptured as dreams and memories.
Unfortunately, like his first two collections, it failed to receive any reviews. Poe applied for editorial and teaching positions, but was unsuccessful in his effort to gain regular employment. In 1831, Poe entered into a new stage in his fledgling literary career. The tastes of the American reading public had turned from romantic poetry and toward humorous and satirical prose. By June of that year, he had submitted five comic pieces to the Philadelphia Saturday Courier---"Metzengerstein," "The Duc de L'Omelette" "The Bargain Lost," "A Tale of Jerusalem," and "A Decided Loss"--- all of which were first published in 1832. Throughout the remainder of his career, Poe would write comic and satiric tales, including parodies, burlesques, grotesques and outright hoaxes.
In 1833 and 1834, Poe wrote two serious short stories, "MS Found in a Bottle" (the first of his sea tales) and "The Assignation" (the first Poe story to appear in a magazine with national circulation). Poe would rework both of these early efforts in the 1840s. He also proposed to publish a volume of short stories. All eleven stories were eventually published, but not as a Folio Club group. Yet his proposal brought his talents to the attention of John Pendleton Kennedy, and through Kennedy, Poe received entree to the Southern Literary Messenger. It was in the Messenger that Poe published his first true horror story, "Berenice," in 1835.
Shortly thereafter, he became and editor of this journal. Many of the latter were extremely abrasive; having secured a permanent position in the literary world, Poe quickly made enemies that would come back to haunt him, even after his death. When John Allan took ill in 1834, Poe travelled to Richmond in the hope of some positive resolution of his conflict with his erstwhile stepfather. The dying man would have none of it; Allan refused to see Poe and threatened to cane him if he dared entered his sick room. A year later, his grandmother, Elizabeth Poe died, and Poe moved from Baltimore back to Richmond with his aunt and cousin. On May 16, 1836, Poe married his cousin Virginia Clemm, who was just thirteen years old at the time.
Poe, his bride and his mother-in-law then moved to New York City. The year 1837 marked the start Poe's most productive period as a fiction writer; during the next eight years, Poe composed most of the tales of terror with which he is customarily identified. Following "Berenice," Poe wrote "Morella" (1835), "Ligeia" (1838), "The Fall of the House of Usher" (1839) and "William Wilson" (1840). In 1839, having moved his household to Philadelphia, Poe became co-editor of Burton's Gentleman's Magazine. In 1840, Poe financed the publication of twenty-five short stories as Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque. But sales of this volume were surprisingly poor.
Poe's unkind cuts caused him to quarrel with his co-editor, the eponymous owner of Burton's, and after he wrote a review in which he accused the popular American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow of plagiarism, Poe was fired by Burton. He tried to found his own literary journal, "Penn Magazine," but found no financial backers for the project. Thereafter, he worked for a year (April 1841 to May, 1842) as an editor at Graham's Magazine. Wearied by his family's financial insecurity, Poe attempted to gain a position at a custom's house, but was again rebuffed. To earn a living, Poe wrote turned again to the composition of comic pieces like "Never Bet the Devil Your Head." But in 1842, his young wife Virginia suffered a burst blood vessel and contracted tuberculosis.
The influence of the latter on Poe's mind may be reflected in his 1842 allegory of epidemic disease, "The Masque of the Red Death," published at a time when Philadelphia was suffering from an outbreak of cholera. In March, 1843, he went to Washington, D.C. in search of a job with the federal government. But he was waylaid by an extended drinking binge, Poe taking to the bottle with increasing frequency after Virginia became ill. In 1843 as well, Poe began a series of murder stories told from the narrative perspective of the fictional murderers.
These would eventual include "The Tell-Tale Heart," "The Black Cat," and, somewhat later, "The Imp of the Perverse" and "The Cask of Amontillado." In that same year, Poe enjoyed the most important boost to his career with the publication of "The Gold Bug," a mystery tale. The success of "The Gold Bug," allowed Poe to publish three stories in which Dupin solves crimes that baffle the French police, "Murders in the Rue Morgue," "The Mystery of Marie Roget," and "The Purloined" Letter." He also enjoyed success at this time with some of his comic and satiric pieces such as "Diddling Considered as One of the Exact Sciences" (1845). In 1845 that Poe's career received two additional boosts. The first came after Poe and his family moved back to New York City, taking residence at a cottage in Fordham, and began to write poetry again.
It was in New York that he wrote "The Raven." The poem was a popular sensation, and it gave him a new source of income, reciting his own to paying audiences. During the remaining years of his life, Poe wrote virtually all of his most famous poems, including "Ulalume," and "Annabel Lee." The second boost came when James Russell Lowell wrote a laudatory essay about Poe that appeared in Graham's Magazine. Poe became the editor of the Broadway Journal, to which he contributed some 60 reviews and essays, a few new stories, and revised versions of others. In the fall of 1845, Poe borrowed a large sum of money and bought the Broadway Journal.
But it failed to turn a profit and ceased publication altogether in early1846. Poe now watched as his wife Virginia's health deteriorated. In his own words, he suffered "the horrible, never-ending oscillation between hope and despair." But on January 30, 1847, Virginia Poe died. Poe lapsed into depression and hard drinking. But he pulled out of this descent, turning to the composition of theoretical works about literature, human nature, and the cosmos at large, including Eureka: A Prose Poem (1848), in which he advanced a complete theory about God's will and the universe.
He also took to the lecture circuit, giving talks on "The Poetic Principle" and Eureka. During this time, Poe developed friendships with several women, including Sarah Helen Whitman, Mrs. Annie Richmond, and Mrs. Sarah Elmira Shelton. He became conditionally engaged to the somewhat older Sarah Helen Whitman, but their relationship ended abruptly when he called upon her in a drunken state. Contrary to popular belief, in his final year (1849), Poe's life was relatively stable.
He continued to earn a living through his lectures and recital performances, he visited friends that he had made in Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Richmond. In fact, Poe spent two months in Richmond. In Richmond that Poe wrote his last poem, the melancholy "Annabel Lee." In late September and in seemingly good health, Poe left Richmond for New York where he planned to assist another lady friend in the editing of her manuscripts. But for some unknown reason, Poe stopped in Baltimore. On October 3, 1849, an election day, Poe was found deliriously ill, lying half-conscious in the street outside of a polling place and a few yards away from a tavern.
Whether Poe was drunk or not has never been conclusively determined. He was taken to a local hospital, still in a delirious state and calling for a polar explorer of the day named Reynolds. He uttered his final words and epitaph, "Lord help my poor soul," on October 7, 1849, and was buried the next day in Baltimore's Presbyterian Cemetery. Poe`s life and works in context Poe`s life is often described in his short stories and letters, especially the long beginnings of his stories are typical for the author. It sometimes seems like that Poe`s biography is a story written by himself. During his childhood many members of the family have died, these circumstances strongly influenced him and his style of writing.
His father was known as a drinker, also Poe suffered a little from alcohol. His mother and brother always stayed ill, both died of tuberculosis and his sister was mentally handicapped. But it would be wrong to say that Edgar was also mentally handicapped due to his genetic heritage. Poe was often considered to be crazy but this can be denied. True is that he often suffered from sudden unconsciousness but the name of his illness today is unknown. Here are more facts which influenced his style: As the son of an actor he was defied, this status was considered as iferior, he lived in poor conditions.
The rapid changes of his social staus during his life also have influenced his style. But it shouldn`t be forgotten that Poe has had a very good school education while he was under the authority of the Allans. He spoke latin and french and was good in history and literature. Certainly, Poe`s abilities didn`t only come from his circumstances he had also much talent. Edgar Allan Poe's short stories are "Gothic" literature. Although this term originally applied only to stories set in the Gothic (or medieval) period, it has been extended to include a certain type of writing.
In order for literature to be "Gothic," it must fulfill several requirements. First, it must set a tone that is gloomy, dark, and threatening. Then, the events that take place must be strange, melodramatic, or evil. Other examples of Gothic literature are Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and Emily Brontë's Wuthering Heights. Poe's short stories are considered Gothic Literature because of their eerie atmosphere and strange plot developments. In the title of an 1840 edition of his collection Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque, Poe divided his short stories into those two categories, the grotesque and the arabesque, terms most often used in works of art (painting, etc.
). Grotesque art often involves monsters and wilderness, whereas arabesque art usually involves a complex and geometric pattern. In relation to Poe's tales, then, the grotesque could refer to more realistic stories with human interaction. The arabesque are stories that involve very few people but many ideas, and are frequently set in abstract locations. It`s the mixture of a hard childhood, intelligence and talent which make Poe so interesting to read. Death and his part in Edgar Allan Poe´s short stories In many works of edgar Allan Poe the death plays an important part.
Poe is interessted disclose the secret of the death. In some of his short stories he tried to know how somebody felt when he or she is going to die. If somebody is going to die, the person doesn´t feel bad and has no pains. Edgar Allan Poe talks often about death, maybe because many people in his family died rather young. Also the fact that many people died from tuberculosis, also called “The red death”, he digests in short stories like “The Masque of the Red Death”, in which he describes the illness as a danger for everyone. The death fascinated Poe very much.
He search in some of his stories for answers, what happens after dying, whether we are going to be born again or if everything is past after death. Edgar Allan Poe tried to search an answer more intensively than other people. It is bizarre. Nearly everyone tried to answer those questions but Poe wrote them down and tried to answer them inb his own ways. The death has a big meaning for Poe, not only in his short stories, also in his own life. Poe & The Secret writing A curious and half-forgotten chapter in the life of Edgar Allan Poe is the one which deals with his researches in the field of "Secret Writing," and his extraordinary ability in inventing and analysing ciphers.
In "The Gold Bug" he gave a singularly clear description of the method of translating a cipher message. At first sight the cipher in the story, with its mingling of letters, figures and symbols, appears bafflingly formidable; but after Poe has started the scent by pointing out that which should have been at once perfectly obvious, one is ready and eager to carry out the reading of the message for himself. But Poe was not merely able to invent and analyse systems of secret writing; he stood ready to decipher those which others would submit to him. He even went so far as to assert, in a Philadelphia weekly paper on which he was employed, that no cipher could be sent to him that he would not be able to solve. This challenge excited a lively interest among the readers of the paper, and letters were sent to him from all parts of the country. In many cases the writers were not strictly scrupulous in observing the conditions of the challenge.
Foreign languages were used. Words and sentences were run together without interval. Several alphabets were employed in the same cipher. And yet out of, perhaps, one hundred ciphers received there was but one which Poe did not succeed immediately in solving, and that one proved to be an imposition, a jargon of random characters having no meaning whatever. But by the public at large, Poe's feat was looked upon in the light of a gigantic humbug. Some averred that the mysterious characters were inserted for the purpose of giving an odd look and thereby advertise the paper.
Others fancied that Poe not only solved the ciphers, but put them together for solution. In fact, very few, with the exception of those who had written the ciphers, really believed in the authenticity of the answers. And it was with the hope of dispelling these ideas of deception that Poe afterward wrote his papers on "Secret Writing" in the pages of Graham's Magazine. The first method of cryptography which Poe attacked and riddled was that of the scytalae of the Spartans, long considered impossible of solution. The scytalae were two wooden cylinders, precisely similar in every respect. The general of an army, starting on an expedition, received one of these cylinders, while the other remained in Sparta.
To communicate, a narrow strip of parchment was so wrapped round the scytala that the edges of the skin fitted accurately each to each. The writing was then inscribed longitudinally, and the letter unrolled and dispatched. The general addressed had only to wrap the second cylinder in the strip to read the message. But as Poe pointed out, certain solution was easy enough. The strip intercepted, let there be prepared a cone of great length. Let the strip be rolled on the cone near the base, edge to edge; then still keeping edge to edge, and holding the parchment close to the cone, let it be slipped gradually toward the apex.
In this way some of the letters whose connection is intended will come together at that point of the cone where its diameter equals that of the scytala on which the cipher was written; a similar cylinder can be obtained and the message read. The Fall of the House of Usher Summary The Narrator had received a letter from a boyhood acquaintance, Roderick Usher, begging that he come to him "posthaste." Usher had written to explain that he was suffering from a terrible mental and bodily illness, and longed for the companionship of "his only personal friend." The plea seemed so heartfelt that the Narrator immediately set out for the Usher ancestral home. Approaching the ivy-covered, decaying old house, the Narrator was struck b y an overwhelming sense of gloom which seemed to envelop the estate. The very sight of the manor caused within him "an illness, a sickening of the heart, an unredeemed dreariness.
" But even though the"eye-like" windows of the mansion seemed to be staring at him, he managed to swallow his fear and continue in his carriage up the path to the door. As he rode, he tried to recall Roderick Usher as he had once known him; years had passed since they had last met. He remembered his old friend as an extremely reserved fellow, quite handsome but possessing an eerie, morbid demeanor. Roderick's family was noted for its particular musical genius - and for the fact that no new branch of the family had ever been generated. For centuries, the title of the estate had passed directly from father to son, so that the term "House of Usher" had come to refer both to the family and to the mansion. Sadly, though, Roderick was the last surviving male issue of the Usher clan.
Finally, the carriage crossed over the creaking moat bridge to the door, and a servant admitted the Narrator. He was led through intricate passageways and past hung armored trophies to Roderick Usher's inner chamber, a sorrowful room where sunlight had never entered. Usher himself looked equally shut in, almost terrifying: pallid skin like that of a corpse, lustrous eyes, and long hair that seemed to float about his head. Moreover, he was plagued by a kind of sullen, intense, nervous agitation, similar to that of a drug-addict experiencing withdrawal. The list of his complaints was dismaying: He suffered much from a morbid acuteness of the senses; the most insipid food was alone endurable; he could wear only garments of a certain texture; the odors of all flowers were oppressive; his eyes were tortured even by faint light; and there were but peculiar sounds, and these from stringed instruments, which did not inspire him with horror. But Usher wasn't alone in the house the Narrator caught a fleeting glimpse of his friend's twin sister, Madeline, who bore an astonishing resemblance to Roderick.
Additionally, it became evident that the brother and sister shared an eerie, almost supernatural, sympathetic bond. Roderick could sense just what Madeline was feeling, and she in turn could read his every thought. Pathetically, though, beloved Madeline was grievously ill, a "gradual wasting away of the person" that was beyond the powers of physicians to cure. On the very night of the Narrator's arrival, Madeline was confined to bed; he never again saw her alive. For weeks the Narrator tried to distract his depressed friend. They talked, painted, and read together.
Usher himself even played the guitar. Once he improvised a wildly horrible ballad about a noble castle invaded by demons - a song which finally convinced the Narrator that Usher had gone mad. During this time, the two former schoolmates discussed their opinions on various matters. One discussion was especially intense: Usher believed that all matter, even inanimate objects, possessed some measure of intelligence; therefore the very stones of his house, he contended, were in essence alive. Indeed, he had long felt that the entire estate, with its dark atmosphere and personality, had,"moulded the destinies of his family" and made him what he was. Then one day Usher announced to his friend that Madeline was "no more," and that he intended to entomb her body in the house's dungeon rather than bury it.
The two carried Madeline's encoffined corpse to the grim and moss-covered underground catacombs and laid it in a vault. There they unscrewed the coffin and lifted the lid. Again startled by the dead sister's resemblance to her brother, the Narrator was even more shocked to note a blush on her cheek. Nevertheless, they resealed the coffin and locked the vault's heavy iron door. During the week that followed his beloved sister's death, a marked change came over Roderick Usher; he acted more agitated than ever and grew more and more pale. Often he would stare blankly into space, giving the appearance of "laboring with some oppressive secret, which, to divulge, he struggled for the necessary courage.
" It happened late one night, when the Narrator found himself unable to slcep. An inexplicable terror took hold of him a fright which was not at all soothed by the violent storm that raged outside. As he paced nervously about, suddenly Usher dashed into the room. "There was a species of mad hilarity in his eyes ...
hysteria in his whole demeanor." In an attempt to calm Usher, his friend pulled from the bookcase a second rate medieval romance and began to read aloud. But in the midst of a passage describing a knight who tears apart a wooden door, the Narrator thought he heard, somewhere in the house, the same cracking and ripping sound so vividly portrayed in the book. Undaunted, he read on - this time, a passage that described the knight's fatal blow to a dragon, which then cried out with a long piercing wail. Again there immediately emanated from the dark recesses of the house a similar shriek. Although shaken, the Narrator kept reading.
Now the book told of "the clangorous sound of a knight's shield falling to the ground" - and once again, just as the words left his lips, the Narrator heard a distinct metallic ringing noise. At this, he became totally unnerved and turned to Usher, who made a chilling announcement: he had buried his sister alive! All week he had listened to her stirring in her coffin; heard her struggles; felt the beating of her heart. "I heard them - many, many days ago," he admitted. "Yet I dared not - I dared not speak!" At that, the antique doors flung open, and there stood the hideous, bloodstained apparition of Lady Madeline. With her last burst of energy, and with a bloodcurdling scream, she fell on her brother, and "in her violent and now final death-agonies, bore him to the floor, a corpse, a victim to the terrors he had anticipated." Aghast, the Narrator fled down the shadowy balls and from the house.
At some distance, he glanced back. There, in the light of the "full, setting and blood red moon," he saw the massive House of Usher being rent into pieces by a whirlwind, and then swallowed up into the dark lake that surrounded it. Introduction One of the earliest and most famous of all horror stories, The Fall of the House of Usher is filled with the elements that fans of the genre relish: a decaying manor house, dungeons, medieval trappings, suggestions of dementia ... It's hard to say that Poe's plot is exceptional; it seems that he is attempting to create not so much a story as a feeling - a deep sense within the reader of mankind's "grim, phantasmic FEAR" .
Some critics have suggested that the story is not meant to be taken seriously; that it is intended as a parody of traditional horror. Some may find tremendous symbolism in the tale: twins tied in life and in death as they had been in birth; a strong woman's struggle to free herself and survive being buried alive, then returning to punish a weak man. References to blood at the end suggest to some that Madeline perhaps was a vampiress. Still others simply enjoy Poe's unmatched style that conjures up remarkably horrid mental images and brings on a wonderfully grim suspense. In all, the imaginative details and descriptions, the inventive drama, and the sheer popularity of the story, have made it a literary classic. William Wilson Summary At the beginning of the story the narrator who is called William Wilson admits that he has comitted a lot of terrible crimes during the last few years.
He wants to write them down because he feels that he will have to die. He confesses that he became a victim of temptation. His earliest memories are about his schoollife in a secluded village in England. At the boarding school he attended he met a schoolmate, who had the same name, was born the same day, who had the same looks and similar habits, but wasn`t related to him. The narrator was held in high regard by everybody except his double. He opposed him and didn`t believe in his heroic adventures.
All the other pupils didn`t notice the strange relationship between the two Wilsons, but slowly the narrator began to be afraid of his "enemy". That`s why the intensive bond soon turned into hatred. The double started to imitate the narrator, he copied his behaviour and his clothing, even his voice was similar. The narrator realized that he had met the wrong Wilson before but he couldn`t remember at which occasion. At the end of the fifth year at boarding schoolhe wanted to play a malicious trick on his double and sneaked into his room but a few minutes later he left again because the sleeping Wilson`s face looked excactly the same like his own one, so that he believed to see himself lying on the bed. After this horrible experience he left the boarding school with panic, to forget the awful and confusing happenings.
He changed to the university of Eton, where he soon became addicted to alcohol and gambling. One evening, when he was already drunk the door of his room was opened and William Wilson entered the room, wearing the same suit like the narrator. Before he even realized what was happening his double vanished again after having whispered the words "William Wilson". From now on his double appeared whenever the "real " Wilson found himself in difficult situations, whenever he was about to make a mistake. But his double always disappeared quickly so that he wasn`t able to get any detailed information about him. Afterwards the narrator spent two years at Oxford university.
One evening he tried to deceive a young and rich student. When the freshman had lost all his money and the narrator was at the top of his glory the wrong Wilson came into the room and accused the gambler of fraud. Banished from the university, mortified by the students the narrator left England - but in vain! Years passed by, Wilson followed him everywhere and prevented him from his criminal plans. In Rome at the time of the "Carneval" he tried to win the duchess´ heart but within the crowd he saw a costume that could`ve been his own. Full of anger he grabbed his double, towed him to another room and demanded a duel. The fight was short, with rage he stabbed Wilson down with his sword.
Suddenly someone asked for entry. To avoid interference the winner turned around to lock the door. When he looked at his opponent again he caught sight of his own pale and bloody face. It was his double, trying to defeat death, his body and his features were exactly the same. The man in agony no longer whispered but spoke in the voice of a winner: "You have conquered, and I yield. Yet, henceforward art thou also dead - dead to the World, to Heaven, and to Hope! In me didst thou exist - and, in my death, see by this image, which is thine own, how utterly thou hast murdered thyself.
" Introduction William Wilson is one of the most impressing stories of Edgar Allan Poe. It was published in 1840 in the book "Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque". This "double-story" is masterly composed but contains many problems. It seems that it is no story that has been written very fast but very well compsed and reconsidered. It contains many biographic elements. It is interesting that Poe worked out many elements of parapsychology which in his times were completely unknown.
Today, psychology has experienced the role a "double" plays but it is astonishing that Poe got nearly the same result although he had no medical or psychological education. "William Wilson" was often considered as an "autobiographical-story" and it`s true that the author has included many experiences of his youth times. His lucky student-years in Englandv have impressed him very much but we also can see that has newer outgrown his disinheritance by John Allen. The Raven Summary A lonely man tries to ease his "sorrow for the lost Lenore," by distracting his mind with old books of "forgotten lore." He is interrupted while he is "nearly napping," by a "tapping on his chamber door." As he opens up the door, he finds "darkness there and nothing more.
" Into the darkness he whispers, "Lenore," hoping his lost love had come back, but all that could be heard was "an echo that murmured back the word 'Lenore!'" With a burning soul, the man returns to his chamber, and this time he can hear a tapping at the window lattice. The raven perched on the bust of Pallas, the goddess of wisdom in Greek mythology, above his chamber door. The man asks the Raven for his name, and surprisingly it answers, and croaks "Nevermore." The man knows that the bird does not speak from wisdom, but has been taught by "some unhappy master," and that the word "nevermore" is its only "stock and store." The man welcomes the raven, and is afraid that the raven will be gone in the morning, "as his Hopes have flown before"; however, the raven answers, "Nevermore." The man smiled, and pulled up a chair, interested in what the raven "meant in croaking, ‘Nevermore.
’" The chair, where Lenore once sat, brought back painful memories. The man, who knows the irrational nature in the raven’s speech, still cannot help but ask the raven questions. Since the narrator is aware that the raven only knows one word, he can anticipate the bird's responses. "Is there balm in Gilead?" - "Nevermore." Can Lenore be found in paradise? - "Nevermore." "Take thy form from off my door!" - "Nevermore.
" Finally the man gives in, realizing that to continue this dialogue would be pointless. And his "soul from out that shadow" that the raven throws on the floor, "Shall be lifted -- Nevermore!" Introduction In this poem, one of the most famous American poems ever, Poe uses several symbols to take the poem to a higher level. The most obvious symbol is, of course, the raven itself. When Poe had decided to use a refrain that repeated the word "nevermore," he found that it would be most effective if he used a non-reasoning creature to utter the word. In "The Raven" it is important that the answers to the questions are already known, to illustrate the self-torture to which the narrator exposes himself. This way of interpreting signs that do not bear a real meaning, is "one of the most profound impulses of human nature" Poe had an extensive vocabulary, which is obvious to the readers of both his poetry as well as his fiction.
Sometimes this meant introducing words that were not commonly used. In "The Raven," the use of ancient and poetic language seems appropriate, since the poem is about a man spending most of his time with books of "forgotten lore." The Black Cat Summary A lover of domestic animals, the narrator had had many differnt pets and had lived comfortably in a house with his pets and his wife. Soon, mostly because of the negative effects of alcohol, he began to despise the pets. Previously his favorite, a large black cat named Pluto eventually copied and seemed to mock the narrator so much that the narrator gouged out its eye and hung the cat. That night his house burned down and left a perfect bas relief of a cat with a noose around its neck in the one unburnt piece of plaster in the house.
Soon the author wanted company of another cat and found one identical to Pluto, save for a large white patch of hair on its chest. The white patch eventually transformed from an nondescript patch to a gallows as the narrator again becomes increasingly loathful of the cat. One day the cat triped the narrator in the cellar, and the narrator brandishing an axe, swung it to kill the cat. His wife blocked the blow; and, in a rage, the narrator planted the axe in her skull. He walled up his wife in the cellar and, and without the disappeared cat to bother him, finally had a good night's sleep--even with the murder on his mind. Police came to investigate but they found nothing.
They came back four days after the murder and the narrator took them to the exact place where he had killed his wife. While he is bragging to the police about the solidity of the walls in which his wife is entombed, a loud shriek alerts the police to something behind the wall. The narrator had walled up his cat along with his dead wife. Introduction "'The Black Cat' is one of the most powerful of Poe's stories, and the horror stops short of the wavering line of disgust". Poe constructed this story in such a way that the events of the tale remain somewhat ambiguous. As the narrator begins to recount the occurrences that ".
..have terrified--have tortured--have destroyed him," he reminds the reader that maybe "...some intellect more calm, more logical, and far less excitable than [his] own," will perceive ".
..nothing more than an ordinary succession of very natural causes and effects." "The Black Cat" is Poe's second psychological study of domestic violence and guilt (the first being "The Tell-Tale Heart"); however, this story does not deal with premeditated murder. The reader is told that the narrator appears to be a happily married man, who has always been exceedingly kind and gentle. The Tell-Tale Heart Summary: It is impossible to say how the idea of murdering the old man first entered the mind of the narrator.
There was no real motive as stated by the narrator. The narrator states that one of the old man's eyes was a pale blue color with a film over it, which resembled the eye of a vulture. Just the sight of that eye made the narrator's blood run cold, and as a result, the eye (and with it the old man) must be destroyed. Every night at midnight, the narrator went to the old man's room. Carefully, he turned the latch to the door, and opened it without making a sound. When a sufficient opening had been made, a covered lantern was thrust inside.
The old man suspected nothing. During the day, the narrator continued to perform his usual duties, and even dared to ask each morning how the old man had passed the night; however, at midnight, the nightly ritual continued. Upon the eighth night, the narrator proceeded to the old man's room as usual; however, on this night, something was different. He was so proud and started to giggle and then the old man started to move. The “killer” didn´t go away, he stayed. Then he make a noise.
The old man woke up and sat in his bed and listened, but he didn´t hear something. The old man groan because he was afraid and the man knew it, so he waited an hour or so. The old man tried to divert himself but it didn´t work. The man waited a long time, without hearing that the old man was going to bed again. He just heard the knock of the heart from the old man. It was going to be louder and louder.
The man became afraid because maybe the neighbours could heard also the heartbeating. Suddenly he let a light shining on the old man and the eye starred at him. So the younger man started to scream and kill the old man. The man put his hand on the death body and wanted to feel whether the heart is beating. The old man was death. The eye of the old man wouldn´t disturb the man again.
Next came the concealment of the body. The narrator dismembered the corpse by cutting off the head, the arms and the legs. Three planks were removed from the floor of the chamber to deposit the remains of what once had been a harmless, elderly man. The boards were replaced so carefully that no one would have been able to detect any wrong doing or foul play. There was no mess or blood stains to clean up; the narrator had cut up the body in a tub. It was 4 A.
M. by the time this ghastly deed had been completed. A knocking was heard at the door, and when the narrator answered it, he found three men who quickly introduced themselves "...as officers of the police.
" They told the narrator that a neighbor had reported hearing a shriek in the night, and that they were there conducting an investigation to make sure that no foul play had occurred. They sat and chatted at ease, while the narrator pleasantly answered their questions. However, the narrator soon wished them to be gone. He swung the chair upon which he had been sitting, and grated it upon the boards, but the noise arose over all and continually increased. He felt that he must scream or die! And then he told the police where the death body was. Introductions Poe writes this story from the perspective of the murderer of the old man.
Poe's story is a case of domestic violence that occurs as the result of an irrational fear. To the narrator that fear is represented by the old man's eye. Through the narrator, Poe describes this eye as being pale blue with a film over it, and resembling that of a vulture.
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| • Zusammenfassung Der Vorleser
• interpretation zwist
• Fabel interpretation
• literarische charakteristik
• interpretation bender heimkehr
• felix lateinbuch
• interpretation der taucher von schiller
• charakterisierung eduard selicke
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