Gothic Literature by Poe Essay Example


Edgar Allan Poe, a man who loved the human mind and psychological effects, wrote "The Tell-Tale Heart" in 1843 and "The Cask of Amontillado" in 1846. These were two short stories made in gothic literature that was a popular genre in the 19th century. Edgar has a dark style of writing that grabs the reader's attention to the story and has you interpreting every word eager for more. Edgar uses personification, foreshadowing, imagery, and a variety of symbolism throughout the short stories. This allows you to not only imagine the scenery but to also feel what the characters are experiencing all through Edgar's form of writing. In the two short stories written by Edgar, the theme that comes across is murder being normal in a psychotic person's mind as well as dehumanizing murder victims before death for self-pleasure. 

In "The Tell Tale-Heart" the narrator murdered a man in fear of being cursed and did not think it was wrong even went to every detail to get away with it for his heart to cause him to tell the truth. And in "The Cask of Amontillado" Montresor seeks revenge on a fool who insulted Montresor and the family name and lures him into a path of literal death to only come out alone. Both men killed for relief or satisfaction framing the theme of normalizing murder in a psychotic person's reality but in real existence in it morbidly wrong. Both narrators showed signs of mental distress and this is shown because the two men gained something from these murders causing them to act in a manner of dehumanizing someone for self-benefit. Both narrators had detailed planning and organization in their murders making sure to leave no evidence behind. Which draws attention to symbols Edgar used throughout the two stories.

Edgar leads us into two paths that are remarkably similar in settings. In both stories, there are dark pictures that are black and white that go with the story to represent the evil of these narrators as well as causing suspense for the theme. Observing closer at the title of "The Tell-Tale Heart" after reading the text given, it is the heart itself that tells the narrator's story. The human heart always knows the true identity and the self within and the narrator cannot hide his identity from the blue vulture evil-eye. This would have foreshadowed the narrator's death but instead, he killed the man to take out the eye. Like "The Cask of Amontillado" in the title we see "cask" which means a cask for storing wine or a casket for death. Amontillado is an alcoholic beverage that is mentioned throughout the story and is what the Montresor family is based on. Put them together and it would mean that Fortunato was seeking his casket to death. "Come

As far as language used to build the theme in "The Tell-Tale Heart'' text, there are bold words throughout such as vulture, tightly, and trouble they bring out the effect of the story the man related the eye to a vulture that he felt needed to be killed so he tightly held the bed covers to kill this old man with the evil-eye and trouble is two meaning he will be troubled no more however he will be in trouble with reality and the law. As in "The Cask of Amontillado" the bolded text is revenge, wrong, proudly, warmly, cask, vaults, hurry, palace, servants, brightly, uncertainty and trembling, all mean that the narrator Montresor felt a bundle of emotions throughout his story and it all relates to the theme of murder. The narrator of "The Tell-Tale Heart'' is nervous, obsessive, and shows signs of being schizophrenic. Some symbols that stand out most are the old man's eye meaning that identity cannot be hidden and it was an issue with the narrator because he could not hide his own identity. It was also referred to as the evil eye which means someone is trying to curse you and the narrator feared that. The narrator claims "So I am mad, you say? You should have seen how careful I was to put the body where no one could find it" (Poe 66) claims he is not mad but planned accordingly to make sure there was no evidence and no witnesses. The narrator fears those around him, and hears sounds others do not, then gets so overwhelmed he confesses the murder to the policemen. In "The Cask of Amontillado'' Montresor tells Fortunato there is a carnival everyone is at and speaks of the servants that are not real that he has sent away to not be home so he can set his trap and make his kill. Montresor is rational, calculated, tricky, cunning, and incredibly detailed. The two narrators help mold the theme based on their reasoning for committing their murders and coming to terms with reality at the end. 

In both of the short stories written by Edgar Allan Poe were interesting and will have you on the edge of your seat reading. Edgar admires death and makes his stories a gothic theme that revolves around it or psychological events. These two stories were both dark but detailed from a mental psychological standpoint. In "The Cask of Amontillado," Edgar shows love for his family in a way of keeping the skeletons laid throughout this hallway of wine throughout the Montresor's bodies. He also mentions at the beginning how he does not feel regret or that what he even did was wrong because either way he was getting his revenge and he did.  In "The Tell-Tale Heart," Edgar continues death in this story and the mood is dark as well. The eye representing the vulture's eye means that there was something dead they are watching, and the man was uncomfortable thinking he was being cursed and about to die. Vultures also tear apart flesh, and the man was afraid of death itself because of suffering not because of dying. Ending with him killing the old man over the eye. They Both portray foreshadowing in the story for "The Tell-Tale Heart'' it is the vulture, and for "The Cask of Amontillado it is the two men going to a walk-in cemetery. Both of these short stories had strong themes and organization and there are great details for Edgar's work. 

Work Cited

Poe, Edgar Allan. "The Cask of Amontillado." Edgar Allan Poe: Storyteller, 2nd ed., Washington, D.C., Office of English Language Programs Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, 2013, pp. 68-72.

Poe, Edgar Allan. "The Tell-Tale Heart." Edgar Allan Poe: Storyteller, 2nd ed., Washington, D.C., Office of English Language Programs Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, 2013, pp. 64-67.

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