The Dark Side of Poe Essay

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The Dark Side of Poe
Teddy Lemaster

Edgar Allan Poe created gothic type settings through the majority of his works. One of the most noticeable themes that create the Gothic fiction of Edgar Allan Poe is death and darkness symbolism, these themes are used a lot in Gothic novels or short stories. In nearly every one of his tales, one of the characters has died or is being mourned and this sets the dark tone found in Poe’s works. He often used a combination of horror, symbolism, and fantasy in his settings to help create a Gothic mood within his stories.
Horror takes a great part in Poe’s works, for example "The Masque of the Red Death" takes place in Prince Prospero’s home during a masquerade giving a fantasy like setting. Although there is fantasy there is also an eerie feeling every hour when the large black clock strikes and everyone in the room grows still and silent suggesting a gloomy feeling to the poem. The only line in the story shows the fear and anger, “Who dares insult us with this blasphemous mockery?” (The Masque of the Red Death, ¶ 11) the red death its self brings gives the entire setting a dark and gothic mood. The symbolism of the black clock is like another moment of life passing or lived. As for the red death refers to tuberculosis which claimed many members of Poe’s family and as soon as it enters the room, everyone dies.
The narrator of “The Black Cat” is friends with the cat in the beginning, yet he mistreats it by a cruel evil in his frame which makes him cut one of the cat’s eyes out. In his confusion, the next day he feels some remorse for his act but he then hangs the cat. “Because I knew that it had loved me and had given me no reason of offense hung it because I knew that in so doing I was committing a sin, a deadly sin that would so jeopardize my immortal soul.” (The Black Cat, ¶ 8) The narrator’s actions show how crazy he is how dark the mood of the cat is toward the narrator after getting its eye cut out, it felt a certain immediate distrust. The mood of the whole story could definitely be considered gothic through the horror and scenery alone. Symbolism has a large role to play as well, the cats name is Pluto which literally means the ruler of the underworld and of the dead.
In “The tell-tale heart” The three main gothic elements that show consistently in this story are the…