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The Messenger Essay

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Horrific Imagery in “The Messenger”
No matter the type of media in which they are presented, most great works of horror make use of some imagery to elicit the fear present within people. This is perhaps most easily done in the world of cinematography, as scary movies and television present an actual picture alongside sound. When combined effectively these two elements nearly immerse an individual in a horrific experience. Writers however find themselves with a greater challenge, for they must rely on the reader’s imagination to invoke a sense of terror. At times authors of horror will choose to write with imagery that is incredibly specific, and which describes to readers frightening situations for them to envision. This could be through descriptions of unsettling events, or it could involve the construction of a disturbing atmosphere. However while such examples possibly contain the most horrifying concepts imaginable, they are reliant on the idea that a reader will in fact treat the explained occurrence as scary. Other macabre imagery is stated in such a way that much stays unknown. This type does not outright tell readers what they should picture or feel in their mind; rather it prompts them to think of some situation based on what they consider fear provoking. It still is considered imagery because the diction stimulates the senses; it simply relies on human thoughts to fill in the specifics. This makes for a very effective type of terror since at its root it demonstrates that humans always find ways to fear the unknown or what they do not understand. In an attempt to create a genuine piece of horror, and therefore unsettle or perhaps even scare the readers of his poem, Howard Phillips Lovecraft wrote “The Messenger” ...


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... feeling of anxiety, because readers would still find themselves wondering what was coming even after they finish reading the poem. Ultimately Lovecraft found a way to write imagery that terrifies readers through their fear of what is unknown, and that really solidifies “The Messenger” as a positively macabre poem.
Through the use of imagery Lovecraft has manufactured a poem that creates a quite impressive feeling of fright when read. Obviously, as with any work of literature, the intensity with which one responds to “The Messenger” will differ between individuals. Not all will find the piece terribly horrendous, and it is safe to assume that some will not find it creepy by any stretch of the imagination. Regardless, no one can deny that H. P. Lovecraft forged “The Messenger” into a memorable poem, which relegates itself among some of his greatest works.




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