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The Gothic Theme of Edgar Allen Poe's Work

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Edgar Allen Poe was an English short-story writer whose work reflects the traditional Gothic conventions of the time that subverted the ambivalence of the grotesque and arabesque. Through thematic conventions of the Gothic genre, literary devices and his own auteur, Edgar Allan Poe’s texts are considered sublime examples of Gothic fiction. The Gothic genre within Poe’s work such as The Tell-Tale Heart, The Black Cat, and The Raven, arouse the pervasive nature of the dark side of individualism and the resulting encroachment of insanity. Gothic tales are dominated by fear and terror and explore the themes of death and decay. The Gothic crosses boundaries into the realm of the unknown, arousing extremes of emotion through the catalyst of disassociation and subversion of presence. Gothic literature utilises themes of the supernatural to create a brooding setting and an atmosphere of fear.
The Gothic dimensions of Poe’s fictional world offered him a way to explore the human mind in extreme situations, and so arriving at an essential truth. The Gothic theme of the importance of the intuitive and emotional and the rejection of the rational and intellectual is prevalent throughout The Raven, The Black Cat, and The Tell-Tale Heart. This is coupled with the convention of transgressive, encroaching insanity, ubiquitous in Gothic literature. In The Tell-Tale Heart, a kind of psychological doubling is achieved by the narrator- an identification with the old man at the time of disturbing him in the middle of the night, and a psychopathic detachment, evidenced by the feeling of triumph and elation that precedes the murder in the extract “..so strange a noise as this excited me to uncontrollable terror”. Hysteria is pertinent in Gothic texts, an...

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...matic Gothic convention of decay.
With respect to the Gothic conventions present in The Raven, The Black Cat, and The Tell-Tale Heart, Edgar Allan Poe’s texts are considered examples of Gothic literature. Through the use of literary techniques and devices, Poe has effectively conveyed thematic concerns of Gothicism. Poe’s texts explore the inept fear of the unknown, the decay of an individual’s character and the psychotic relationship between insanity and the expression and instigation of emotions. The Gothic conventions within his work complement each other and operate in conjunction to express themes related to Gothicism, as ambient setting is achieved with the aid of the Gothic conventions of supernatural motifs and reference to darkness. By creating a pastiche of forms and conventions, Edgar Allan Poe’s works are considered sublime paradigms of Gothic fiction.