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Poe Essay

747 words - 3 pages

Steven Stone American Literature "" Mr. Kay September 7, 2000 Summer Reading Essay Poe's People Edgar Allen Poe was a man that was intrigued by the complexity of the human psyche and he delved into the depths of the human mind in his stories. In fact, many of his stories were set in the minds of the protagonists such as "The Black Cat", "The Telltale Heart", and "The Pit and the Pendulum". Poe characters depicted his philosophy of human nature in these stories. He viewed humans as a very vengeful group, a group that seeks to alleviate obstacles in such a manner that the humans actually make the problems more difficult to deal with, a group that often causes their own demise through their guilt, and also as a very perverse group, that delights in doing things that are inherently wrong or evil simply because they know they should not.Humans are very vengeful. For example, in the tale of "The Cask of ...view middle of the document...

Unfortunately, these efforts are futile. Happiness cannot stop the inevitable. Death comes "like a thief in the night"(47), even those who seek "peace and safety"¦shall not escape".In "The Telltale Heart" and "The Black Cat", two different men shared one characteristic; they both caused their own destruction through their guilt. In both stories, the police came to investigate what they thought could be possible crimes, one for a scream, the other for a missing person. The police seemed to want to help the main character in each story. In both, the police believed their stories. It was their personalities that caused the truth to be told. The police were clueless as to both murders. "And still the men chatted pleasantly, and smiled"¦they suspected! ""they knew ""they were making a mockery of my horror!"(143) The main character mistook pleasant chitchat for some sort of twisted police tactic.In many of his stories, Poe showed how humans have a "dark side". That human nature causes people to do things for the simple reason that they know that what they are doing is wrong. In "The Black Cat", for example, the man knew that killing the cat and rapping his cane on the wall were the wrong things to do, and that is why he did them. When you are hiding a body behind a wall, the best way to keep it from the police may not be to comment ""¦these walls are solidly put together,"(20) and then to proceed to "rap heavily with a cane"(20) on the wall. Human nature is a balance of light and dark, of good and evil. The main character in this story had lost that delicate balance. He turned from being a happily married man with a love for animals, into a psycho, who killed the things that he loves and blames them on the supernatural.Poe showed through his stories the basic depravity of the human condition. He illustrated that sometimes men act evilly just for the sake of evil. His stories generally show that one's own lack of character can cast suspicion on the actions of others and this very lack of one's own character can ultimately be more harmful than ones' bad actions. Poe often showed that the sometimes your own worst enemy is yourself.

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