Edgar Allan Poe 's Gothic Literature Essay

Edgar Allan Poe 's Gothic Literature Essay

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Frightening occurrence, dark matters, and the macabre have intrigued human beings since the beginning of time. Gothic literature has been used throughout history to explain the unexplainable (Snodgrass “Gothic Literature” Par 1). These bloodcurdling, unnerving stories have continued to capture the interests of both readers and writers across the world. Stories of this genre contain atrocious crimes, terrifying monsters, dark settings, and satiric themes that writers of the time use to reflect their moods, cultures, and opinions on subjects that interest them. However, no other writer has come to exemplify Gothic literature better than Edgar Allan Poe. Regarded as the forefather of American Gothic, Poe is both revered and reviled across the world for his dark works of fiction. The works of Edgar Allan Poe are great examples of Gothic literature because of their eerie settings and mood, the appearance of supernatural creatures and spectacles, and their use of insanity and odd motivations.
One of the greatest ways that Poe demonstrates Gothic literature is through mood and setting. According to Snodgrass, settings of Gothic literature are often dark, sinister, secretive, mysterious, and claustrophobic. Some physical settings would include buildings going to ruin, monstrous castles, and even insane asylums (“Gothic Setting” Par. 1, 3-4, 6). Poe often demonstrates a sense of claustrophobia and impending doom by using tombs and crypts. This can be seen in Poe’s The Cask of Amontillado, where Montresor and Fortunato walk into “[a crypt with] walls [that] had been lined with human remains, piled to the vault overhead, in the fashion of the great catacombs of Paris” (Poe 736). Montresor would later trap Fortunato in a small dark cave wher...


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...lf-destructive behaviors such as addictions to gambling, drinking, and opiates, as well as other dissolute behaviors (Par. 1). And witnessing the decay and subsequent death of his wife by tuberculosis (Sova Par. 9-10) may have given him inspiration for stories like Morella and Berenice, and for the incurable bleeding disease in The Masque of the Red Death (Symons 251), but it served to throw him into a deep depression. Poe is often described as a “writer who was continually struggling against both his own demons and the apparent recalcitrance and rejection of the outside world” (Punter and Byron 155-156). Poe lived a rather isolated life before died a rather mysterious death at the age of forty in October 1849, in poverty without experiencing much of the fame he has now. Today, he may be an infamous figure in literature, but was it truly worth his life and happiness?

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