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Poe Essay, Research Paper

Karen Ginsberg

Mrs. Daniels



Elements of Fiction in Poe=s Writing

Edgar Allan Poe was an artist of literature. He was one of the greatest thriller/story tellers that America has known. He was known as “a seminal figure in the development in science fiction and the detective story. His writing came to have enormous importance for modern French literature” (X, John Richardson). Edgar Allan Poe wasn’t out to frighten his audience. According to Peithman, his interest for his audience was within the human mind. In three of his works, AMorella@, ALigeia@, and AThe Oval Portrait@, there are several similarities and differences of elements of fiction such as theme, plot, tone, symbol, point of view, and climax.

In the story ALigeia@, the narrator did not love Rowena. Ligeia did not resemble Rowena in any way. Ligeia was just a figment of his imagination. The man was merely insane. He created Ligeia. AThe narrator is obsessed with his Ideal to the point where it takes on a life of its own, and had no ability to control his mind@(Piethman 45). The narrator was always absorbed in the features of Ligeia and how wonderful she always looked. She was so perfect in every way that she could not possibly be human. This story could have been related to Edgar Allan Poe=s could first wife=s death that ALigeia@ was a part of him.

In AMorella@, it was said that she may have been a witch. Morella she is intelligent. Although, she did go to a school for the black arts. She represents surpassing knowledge that the husband doesn=t have. He wants to have this so he starts to study with her. He becomes her pupil. He did not love Morella. He only loved her knowledge. Because her husband did not love her at all, she cast a spell on him. The spell was for her soul to go into her daughter. The spell was a reminder for the man to regret what he did to Morella. How he neglected her as a wife.

When the daughter was born, she looked exactly like Morella. Morella returned in the body of her daughter. She had her mother=s intelligence. Although, for some reason named his daughter Morella during her Baptism. He spoke her name once. The spoken name is the key to it=s power that it may raise the dead.

Both AMorella@ and ALigeia@ talks about metempsychosis. The passage of one soul to another body. In both stories, the narrator thinks he sees his dead wife come to life in another form. In ALigeia@, Ligeia passes into Rowena, and in AMorella@ she passes into the daughter.

Although the case a little different in AThe Oval Portrait@. In AThe Oval Portrait@ he was in love with her. Not enough to love her forever, but enough to keep him content. What he loved more was his art. He would choose art over her. She hated him for loving his art over her. But after he painted her picture, he no longer needed her because he had her in what he loves most. She had become immortal in the picture. She was more beautiful in the painting than in real life. The painting will never grow old, never be flawed, nor suspended perfection. The woman lives on in the portrait even after her death.

The women are important in these stories. They all have something in common. Except in ALigeia@, the women in AThe Oval Portrait@ and AMorella@ the were neglected. Their husbands did not care for them. Both Morella and the girl in the portrait died of neglect and of being ignored. Only in ALigeia@, he relished over her beauty day and night. He compares her to God. AMan doth not yeild him to the angels, nor unto death utterly, save only though the weakness of his feeble will@(Poe 49). He can feel her in many ways that we cannot.

The theme of these stories is immortality. The women in ALigeia@, AThe Oval Portrait@, and AMorella@ were immortal. They could not be destroyed. In ALigeia@ the narrator is in love with flawlessness. She could not be destroyed. She will live on forever in the man=s mind. To him, Ligeia represents perfectness and Rowena represents reality.

In AThe Oval Portrait@, the girl is a prisoner. She is not as perfect as Ligeia nor was she as strong as the other women in ALigeia@ and AMorella@. She is not intelligent like her husband. He dominates and overpowers her. He does not care enough about her emotional needs as a woman. When he was finished painting her, there was no reason for her to live anymore. Her life was traded in for the painting. She becomes the potrait. AThe woman=s life was short, the life of the painting lives on@(Piethman 112).

In AMorella@, the daughter was a constant reminder to make him feel guilty. Morella loved him very much. When she found out that he did not love him she transmitted her soul into her daughter so that way he would be punished for the way he had treated her.

The mood for these stories is very somber and erratic.The climax in AMorella@ was when he spoke her name once. In A Ligeia@, the climax of the story was when Rowena died and Ligeia took over her body. And in AThe Oval Portrait@the climax was when he finished painting and she then died and became the portrait.

The narrator in these three stories is the antagonist. In ALigeia@ the protagonist is his mind. His mind was fooling him into thinking that there is the perfect woman out there and there really isn=t. The same is true for AThe Oval Portrait@. His mind was wild when he would paint. He knew she had beauty, but she wanted him to be more like a man and care for her than he does for his paintings. In AMorella@, the protagonist was his mind. Although he once called his daughter Morella, she did not answer. He killed his daughter on the account of the daughter looking like Morella. When he called her AMorella@, she did answer.

These works of Poe are like most of his other work. In his other stories, he usually places the point of view in first person, like he did with ALigeia@, AMorella@, and AThe Oval Portrait@. Edgar Allan Poe wrote these stories for a specific reason. He possibly wanted to prove that a dead soul can move to one living body when the name is mentioned. Poe wanted to show that we shouldn=t take things for granted, for instance your wife or your husband. You should love that person for who they are and not minute aspects such as intelligence and beauty.


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