Theme Of Symbolism In Edgar Allan Poe

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Interpreting Edgar Allan Poe’s Stories through Symbolism

Morbid, sick, and psychotic are all words many use to describe the late writer Edgar Allan Poe. His images of ghost and maniacs have given readers chills throughout the years. While many believe Edgar Allan Poe was nothing more than a deranged horror writer, a deeper look at some of his macabre tales such as “The Raven,” “The Fall of the House of Usher,” and “The Tale-Tell Heart,” shows Poe’s literary brilliance through the use of symbolism. His ability to create deeper meanings in his stories has caused many to claim Poe as the most influential writer of the 19th century. An analysis of Poe’s use of symbolism truly reveals his genius to create excitement and force the reader to form a deeper perception of his tales.
The first example of Poe’s use of symbolism to show a deeper meaning and create excitement is in the short story, “The Raven.” Throughout the short tale, Poe presents symbolism of the conscious and subconscious mind. Abel Abu-Melhim states, “The Raven appears to symbolize loneliness, sadness, and the feeling of going insane coupled with a sense of uncertainty even about one's own self” (115). In the beginning of the story, the narrator describes a dreary December midnight. Poe uses this to describe the physical setting and show the reader the current darkness of the main character’s mind. Poe also uses the line “And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor” (688). This line shows how the narrator is slowly falling into a deeper depression, his sprit slowly fading away. The main symbol in this short story is the stately raven. The darkness of the raven is used to symbolize death, which will always haunt the narrator. The raven flies inside a...

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... assailed the monarch’s high estate” (Poe 708). Poe gives us the symbol as a reference of the burial robes of Madeline and what is to come. In the end, Poe uses the line, “The radiance was that of the full, setting, and blood-red moon,” to symbolize the bloodshed and death of the Usher family (714). Throughout the story, Poe’s use of symbolism gives the reader a deeper view of the Usher family.
Although some claim Poe is a depressed second-rate writer, Poe has the ability to deliver his dark stories while giving the reader deeper understanding of his characters. This ability helped establish Poe as one of America’s most talented authors. It is important to truly examine Edgar Allan Poe’s stories with the knowledge of his symbolic style. With this in mind, one can understand the true meaning of Poe’s tales and develop a new perspective of their own favorite stories.
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