Edgar Allan Poe: Crime And Punishment Essay

Edgar Allan Poe Crime And Punishment Term paper

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Edgar Allan Poe: Crime and Punishment A certain group of short stories of Edgar Allan Poe can be described as the "Talesof Gothic Horror", but I would like to group them as tales of crime and punishment. Allof them are surprisingly simple and the moral meaning easily understood: guilt causes pain;loss of human contact means spiritual death ;and conscience must be carefully thoughtabout. The two stories that I felt applied the greatest are The Black Cat and The Tell-TaleHeart. Each has a different style and interpretation, but the main themes are closelyrelated to each other. Before reading these stories, you must understand the mental state the author wasin. In these tales, you can feel the despair that Poe feels. He wrote himself that the "mostdirect, and perhaps, most salutary, is that of self-examination and self knowledge." He feltthat individuals could obtain a perfectly accurate estimate of oneself. Poe never foundwhat he considered love, and you can identify the torment that it put him through. These"crime and punishment" stories show the perverseness that Poe uses to express his themes. The Tell-Tale Heart is Poe's first psychological study of domestic violence andguilt. The story covers a period of approximately eight days with most of the importantaction occurring each night around midnight. The location is the home of an elderly manin which the narrator has become a caretaker. This story contains a nameless narrator thatbecomes the main focus of the tale. This narrator may be male or female because Poe usesonly "I" and "me" in reference to this character. Most readers assume that the narrator ismale because of a male author using a first person point of view ;however this story canalso be plausible when the deranged protagonist appears as a woman. Poe writes thisstory from the perspective of the murderer of the old man. The narrator, in the particularstory, adds to the overall effect of horror by continually stressing to the reader that he orshe is not mad, and tries to convince us of that fact by how carefully this brutal crime wasplanned and executed. Poe's story is a case of domestic violence that occurs as the resultof an irrational fear. To the narrator that fear is represented by the old man's eye. Through the narrator, Poe describes this eye as being pale blue with a film over it, andresembling that of a vulture. The belief in the evil eye dates back to ancient times. Thebelief centers around the idea that those who possess the evil eye have the power to harmpeople or their possessions by merely looking at them. To protect oneself from the powerof the eye, certain measures must be taken. Human nature is a delicate balance of lightand dark, or good and evil. Most of the time this precarious balance is maintained;however, when there is a shift, for whatever reason, the dark or perverse side surfaces. Inthis case, it is the "vulture eye" of the old man that makes the narrator's blood run cold. Itis this irrational fear which evokes the dark side, and eventually leads to murder. The
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