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Reviewing the Themes of Edgar Allan Poe through his Utilization of Language and Gothic Archetypes - Essay Example

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Edgar Allan Poe has been credited for creating the modern Gothic genre, which is clearly illustrated in his works, the poem “The Raven,” and his short story, “The Tell-Tale Heart.” …
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Reviewing the Themes of Edgar Allan Poe through his Utilization of Language and Gothic Archetypes

Download file to see previous pages... With that said, a close look will be taken into his works to define his development of Gothic archetypes, including the theme of madness and the irrationality of despair, through his use of language, settings, symbols, and character.
To begin with, a close look will be taken into the language and methods of Edgar Allan Poe to highlight how he utilized careful technique of his craft to create Gothic works like “The Raven” and “The Tell-Tale Heart.” Thus, to understand the works of Edgar Allan Poe, it helps to have the author’s own point of view on how he defines the craft of poetry and storytelling. In his own words, Poe defines what he calls “The Poetic Principle” in which he says that “a poem deserves its title only inasmuch as it excites, by elevating the soul” (Poe 1). For Poe, the length of the poem will determine the lasting effect it has on the reader, and he makes it clear that the content of the poem has a certain task that it must achieve in order for it to be considered a poem of worth. Moreover, Poe is astutely concerned with the overall technique of a poem, so much so that he spent a good majority of his professional life re-writing and criticizing the works of others. In many ways, Poe was so obsessive over the details of the technique of poetry, that he went to great lengths to define how one could achieve the most precise masterpiece possible. For Poe, it was that “every piece had to fit, as in a jigsaw puzzle; if it did not, the writer had wasted words and lost some of his potential effect” (Hough xix). In many ways, Poe could be considered an obnoxious know-it-all, deconstructing the works of other authors and poets to make his own look better, and to illuminate a better usage of technique. This was essential, and in his own obsessive-compulsive way, Poe was frustrated with the works of others because they were being wasted on his potential audience. This is an important distinction in understanding the works of Poe, because one can draw a parallel between his own insecurities and the insecurities of the characters within his works. One can speculate as to why Poe reacted in the ways that he did in regards to other’s works, but it can be, at least psychologically, traced to his own compulsivity in following proper technique and composition. Moreover, in his essay, “The Philosophy of Composition,” Edgar Allan Poe states that in his poem, “The Raven,” it was his intention “that the work proceeded, step by step, to its completion with the precision and rigid consequence of a mathematical problem” (Thompson 14-15). In this, Poe has defined that he had precisely planned the theoretical layout of “The Raven” to flow and climax like that of a math problem. His creative stance to parallel the analytical side of his reader’s brain in an attempt to form a poem that no one else has ever been able to achieve. In this way, he was able to craft a poem that would conform to his strict constraints designated by close attention to the craft of poetry and still achieve what he intended. Looking at Edgar Allan Poe in this manner is useful for a reader of his works to understand where the poet has drawn his influences from and what apprehension he might have been under should his work not be widely received. It is a unique look at the poet, and illuminates how he utilized language and the various techniques garnered from his predecessors to refine his craft with the intent of having an impact on his readers. For Poe, ultimately, this was the most ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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