Essay on Juxtaposing the Most Similar Contradiction in Edgar Allan Poe's Work

Essay on Juxtaposing the Most Similar Contradiction in Edgar Allan Poe's Work

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Throughout all of Edgar Allan Poe's works are common ideas that oppose each such as madness versus sanity, reality versus the imagined reality and life versus death. Usually these sentiments are taken as contrasting ideas with little similarities to each other, like black and white. However, many of these motifs are situated in the grey category. Poe uses the communal thought pathway to highlight its antithesis; the pathway of grey. With the new pathway, he emphasizes the similarities of the opposing ideas until they meld into one solid grey idea. One without the other is nothing more than absolutely nothing at all. Poe creates the grey to both discredit society’s division between black and white and to stress that the first perception is not always the most accurate one. This is especially true when the subjects of life and death, love and hate, and fortune and misfortune, come into the game. In his short stories, Edgar Allan Poe uses the juxtaposition of opposing ideas to reveal similarities between what appear to be opposites.
Within Edgar A. Poe’s stories, there is often a duality of emotions or sentiments, often in direct conflict with each other. Such is the case with two of his short stories focused at the motif of life versus death. “Masque of the Red Death” and “Hop-Frog” are two stories that exemplify the contrast between the two themes vividly.
In the short story, “Hop-Frog”, the main character is driven to find a way out of his prison. To escape, he believes that he needs to kill his captor, the king. In the instant that he creates the connection between the king being death and his death being freedom, he has created the grey effect. The connection between life and death is established and cannot be driven apart...


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...o, CA: Greenhaven, 1998. 160-68. Print.
Roth, Martin. "Inside "Masque of the Red Death"" SubStance 13.43 (1984): 50-53. JSTOR. Web. 8 May 2012. .
Sova, Dawn B. "Masque of the Red Death." Critical Companion to Edgar Allan Poe: A Literary Reference to His Life and Work. New York: Facts on File, 2007. 109-13. Print.
SparkNotes Editors. "Poe’s Short Stories." SparkNotes. SparkNotes, 25 Apr. 2012. Web. 11 May 2012. .
Templar, Aldwin. "Literary Analysis: The Black Cat, by Edgar Allan Poe." Helium.com. Helium, 25 Mar. 2008. Web. 9 May 2012. .
Womack, Martha. "Edgar Allan Poe's "The Tell-Tale Heart"" The Poe Decoder. Web. 09 May 2012. .

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