Edgar Allen Poe Gothicism Essay

This essay has a total of 730 words and 4 pages.


Edgar Allen Poe Gothicism





When the name Edgar Allen Poe is mentioned the thoughts of horror, shock, and terror come
to the common readers mind. Some though, think more powerful words such as revolutionary,
intellectual, or gothic. Poe’s works such as Pit And The Pendulum, The Tell-Tale Heart,
Hop-Frog, and The Fall of the House of Usher are considered to be staple works of the 19th
century gothic genre. Elements of gothic writing include the number seven, madness, and
ironic twists.

E.A. Poe used the number seven in his writings to express his gothic style of literature.
For example, in Pit And The Pendulum when the character attempted to map his dark
surroundings, he counted 52 paces before he had swooned. In reality, the room was only 25
yards in circumference. Addition tell us that 5 plus 2 equals 7 and also in reverse that 2
plus 5 equals 7. Also, in The Tell-Tale Heart the homicidal murderer had stalked his
victims eye for 7 nights before killing him on the eighth night. In Hop-Frog, the king had
a total of 7 councilors. Finally, in The Fall of the House of Usher, the Usher family
memorial in the basement was filled with 7 tombs of dead Usher relatives. Poe’s use of the
number seven is found constant through many of his short stories and other works of
literature.

Madness is also a common element in Poe’s works. For instance, in Pit And The Pendulum,
the character embraces a point of madness as the pendulum slowly swings toward him but
eventually overcomes his madness to save himself from the pendulum. Madness is also found
in The Tell-Tale Heart becomes the madness embraces the murderer of the novel as he
obsesses and distresses over the eye of the old man whom he eventually destroys and
dismembers it also infects the character when he is stricken with the guilt of his
horrible act. Also, Hop-Frog shows signs of madness as well when Hop-Frog becomes
infuriated with the King and his seven councilors behavior and through an extremely well
delivered plan has them all torched to a public death. In The Fall of the House of Usher
the character Madeline was embraced with the madness (insanity) after being locked in a
coffin alive so that her fiancè would be disposed of by her brother. His work with gothic
literature and his life as a depressed child, adult, and man has caused madness to be a
common influence for in his literature.

Another frequent component in the 19th century gothic literature of Edgar Allen Poe was
the use of ironic twists. The previously unmentioned Spanish Inquisition that appeared in
Pit And The Pendulum and saved the imprisoned character was a prime example of an ironic
and unexpected twist to the story of struggle and survival. The Tell-Tale Heart also has
an ironic ending when the murderous character is plagued by hearing the thunderous beating
heart of the old-man with the wicked eye forces him into admitting to his horrible crime.
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