Most of the stories and poems by Edgar Alan Poe are focused on the problems of death. Even when none of the characters dies at the end of the story, the whole discussion is usually focused on suffering, bullying and the pre-death conditions when people are about to die from severe tortures.
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Having read a number of Poe’s stories it becomes obvious that each time the author dwells upon death or another suffering he tries to be symbolic. Paying attention to such pieces of writing The Cask of Amontillado, The Pit and the Pendulum, The Tell-Tale Heart, Annabel Lee, and The Raven it is possible to say that the main idea of these writings is the death, even though the meaning of the death and the surrounding circumstances, and the background are absolutely different.
Using the theme of the death in these pieces the author wants to depict the human features, to show their inner feelings and qualities trying to shift the behavior of one person on the description of the whole society, depicting their sins and defects.
The Cask of Amontillado
The first short story under consideration seems to be detective even though there is no investigation of the murder. The detective investigation is offered for the readers who should understand the reasons for revenge as the author says nothing particular about them. However, it is obvious that the reasons are really strong as the murder is too cruel and the killer does not suffer from the pricks of conscience. There are two characters of the story Montresor and Fortunato.
The author begins the story with the sentence “The thousand injuries of Fortunato I [Montresor] had borne as I best could, but when he ventured upon insult, I vowed revenge” (Poe “Cask of Amontillado” 7). Thus, the author opens the story introducing the reader with the main idea of the plot and the further narration. The revenge was attentively considered. Montresor trapped Fortunato in the catacombs and nailed him.
Then, Montresor began “vigorously to wall up the entrance of the niche” (Poe “Cask of Amontillado” 16). The hate is expressed in these actions and the murderer does not suffer from what he has done as the final words of the story are as follows, “Against the new masonry I reerected the old rampart of bones. For the half of a century no mortal has disturbed them. In pace requiescat!” (Poe “Cask of Amontillado” 21).
The Tell-Tale Heart
The Tell-Tale Heart is the best example of the short story writing according to the Poe’s point of view where the murder and the pricks of conscience are the main themes. The story comprises only the most important elements eliminating extra and useless information. Trying to analyze the short story, it may be concluded that the main idea of the plot is to show the personal strong intention to do something and the consequences which lead to hard pricks of conscience.
The main character wanted to commit that crime, he wanted to kill the old man, and when the murder was committed, a person did not feel any guilt, he divided the body into pieces and hidden them in the room. When police comes, the murderer is also sure that they know nothing. However, the feeling of guilt is coming and the person begins to panic. The beating of the dead heart is the symbol of the pricks of conscience which make a murderer to confess in his actions.
The Pit and the Pendulum
Still, not all stories in Poe’s collection finish tragically. The Pit and the Pendulum is one more short story by Edgar Poe which shows human suffering and close death. However, the person is saved and the fatal outcome is not followed, the main idea of the story is to show that even those whose life has not bring any contribution, who has done nothing and has nothing to pity for are afraid of a close death.
People in such conditions become creative and their mind works faster and better. Trying to avoid the traps, the main character applies to various tricks. The author shows that all people want to live even if their lives cost nothing, at the same time people are able to act desperately when they do not see another way out.
The main character was ready to jump in the black pit, in the unknown place to make sure that he is not gong to be roasted alive (Poe “Pit and the pendulum” 30). A person has a choice and this is what all people have (even though some choices are terrible), they always have the choice whether to lead life and have nothing to remember at the end or to do particular and useful things.
Annabel Lee and The Raven
Annabel Lee and The Raven are two pieces of writing which depict the same theme, the death of the beautiful woman. The main idea of these two poems is the suffering of a man who has lost the women he loved and there is no another way to return her,
Eagerly I wished the morrow; – vainly I had sought to borrow
From my books surcease of sorrow – sorrow for the lost Lenore –
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For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore –
Nameless _here_ for evermore (Poe “The Raven” line 8).
…the wind came out of the cloud chilling
And killing my Annabel Lee (Poe “Annabel Lee” line 25).
Suffering from that great loss each of the characters in the poem is reminded about, each of the men is trying to forget about this terrible event, but they are unable to do it. Reading the poem, it becomes obvious that each place, each movement and each object reminds the men about their loves,
For the moon never beams without bringing me dreams
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And the stars never rise but I see the bright eyes
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee (Poe “Annabel Lee” line 33).
Therefore, it is possible to conclude that the main idea of most of the Poe’s pieces of writing is the death. Each time the author tells the story about somebody’s life, he depicts the situation when either the person or his/he companion dies. The problem of death presented by the author depicts various problems in the society, shows personal worries and suffering.
The author tries to express the essence of human beings by means of placing those in the most stressful situations and the death and the murder are such cases. Having considered several short stories and poems by Edgar Poe, it becomes obvious that human reaction to the death is different as well as the choices they make after sin commitment.
Poe, Edgar Allan. “Annabel Lee.” Poems Collection. 2011. Web.
Poe, Edgar Allan. The cask of Amontillado. New York: ABC. Print.
Poe, Edgar Allan. The pit and the pendulum. New York: Heinemann, 2001. Print.
Poe, Edgar Allan. “The Raven.” Poems Collection. 2011. Web.