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Edgar Allen Poe Edgar Allen Poe. The name evokes morbid and quite psychotic imagery just from the mere sight of it. That is, from the few stories I have read in his name. He is a man of great intelligence that cannot be denied and sadly, a man of great madness that can also not be denied. He describes feelings of innate and morbid tendencies within the human psyche, that are completely realistic, yet unfathomable to human ethics.
In the few stories I have read, which include: The Cask of Amontillado, The Black Cat, and The Tell-Tale Heart, I have found that there are great thematic similarities within his works. He is most obviously not a man of indifference. His stories portray the same setting and overall dark satirical feeling to the reader. In the Cask of Amontillado, Poe portrays the madness of his character quite coherently. The most clearest theme in this morbid story is that of psychotic need to fulfill the all too powerful drive of revenge. The main character is vengeful toward the drunkard, Fortunato.
His insulted persona has apparently taken on the bitterness of his avenger s discrepancies. He is out to kill, yet in a lovely way. Lovely, in the sense that he is completely hospitable and caring to his now apparent opponent. The theme is clear in more ways than one. Though this main character, who apparently has no name, is vengeful, spiteful, and morbid, he also has a weak and humanitarian side. This is an apparent significance to all of Poe s themes.
His characters are completely disturbed, yet there is still some prevailing sanity about them. In the Black Cat, the theme is probably more disturbing than any other story I have read by Poe. This theme is complete insanity. The theme to this story shows clear tendency to push the human capacity of evil. The main character is loving and caring toward his pets in the beginning, but with his alcohol addiction surfacing, there follows a morbid tendency to push his unfathomable capabilities to the limit. This man loves his cat without a doubt in the beginning, but when alcoholism starts to hit him, he grows irritated with the animal even though it has only shown love towards him. (As I sit here typing this paper, I am gazing at my beautiful kitten named Little Britney, that is sleeping on top of my computer and I shutter at the next event of the story I am about to relay) When the cat scratches the main character, he apparently pushes his evil tendencies by cutting out its eye.
The theme however, in this story surfaces in later details of the characters more prevailing tendencies to push his capabilities to the limit. He becomes obsessed with achieving what he thinks of doing. So he does it. He kills his cat for no reasons other than drunken annoyance and testing of his own capabilities. Yet, in the, end the cat comes back to haunt him in another body and unfortunately reveals the character s psychotic crime of killing his wife. Even though the character was only in mere fear of the cat and unexpectedly ended up killing his wife because she tried to fend for the animal, he still committed an unfathomable evil crime of murder.
This did not effect his conscience as much as the killing of the cat. This morbid event shows the insane significance of the theme of this story. In the Cask of Amontillado Poe portrays yet another morbid weakness of the human psyche. In this story the theme is quite clearly just another example of madness within the human heart. The only difference between the story and reality is that the madness is carried out.
The urge to kill is not just a thought, but a disturbing and infatuating inclination that is acted upon. In this story the madman is completely disturbed by this apparent evil eye. He becomes obsessed with eliminating this lingering and piercing eye that seems to be hovering over his every glance and watching his every move. It is probably just paranoia of this evil eyes capabilities to see within the soul of the main character and interpret his madness. This is most obviously the reason for the main character having to kill this poor old man and his evil eye.
The most prominent theme of this disturbing story is that of human paranoia and fear of the inner self being discovered. With in these three Poe stories that I have read, are numerous thematic similarities. They all possess a morbid tone and an upsetting story. Each story implies an infatuation with madness, that is yet sane in a disturbing sense. The main character in each story shows remorse for what he has done, so in a way these stories portray humanity within insanity. In the Black Cat and the Tell Tale Heart, the madness of each main character is spelled out quite clearly.
Both of the men in these stories are trying to assure us that they are not mad, or possibly assure themselves that they are not mad. In the Black Cat, the main character explains, Yet mad am I not-and very surely do I not dream. (Poe 1). And in the Tell Tale Heart the main character also explains, But why will you say that I am mad? , You fancy me mad, and How then am I mad? (Poe 1) These characters are obsessed with the fact that they are possibly mad. They are searching for some sanity in their insane minds and looking for someone or something to show them that they are in fact not mad, but sane in a morbid way. In the Cask of Amontillado and The Tell Tale Heart both of the main characters have certain psychotic rituals that they follow. They lure their predators in by showing affection towards them.
I was never kinder to the old man than during the whole week before I killed him (Poe 1). I continued, as was my wont, to smile in his face, and he did not perceive that my smile now was at the thought of his immolation. (Poe 136) The characters follow a certain ritual that allows them to capture their predators like a cat, pouncing unexpectedly. Edgar Allen Poe is an amazing writer in the way that he portrays dark terror. It may be concluded that he is a psychotic writer, but nonetheless he is still an interesting and brilliant one. From the stories I have read: The Cask of Amontillado, The Tell Tale Heart, and The Black Cat, it is completely obvious that Poe is not a man of indifference. All of his stories portray the same morbid and psychotic tendencies within the theme.
The madness of his characters is so clear and succinct that it becomes, or seems to be rational. Poe is strikingly morbid, yet intelligently true to the human psyche of rationale. 326
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