“There are some people who live in a dream world, and there are some who face reality; and then there are those who turn one into the other.” Douglas H. Everett Edgar A. Poe’s Berenice is basically a tale of impulses driven by delusion, obsession and madness. He describes a very peculiar illness, where the need for meticulous observation drags the main character to delusion and irrationality. Egaeus’ way of thinking sinks him even deeper into his delirium until he can no longer differentiate illusions from reality. This story is part of the Romanticism in the United States. However, Poe’s style deviates from the tendencies shown at that period, the concept of beauty is evidently contrasting to that of other writers of his time. Although he has and shares the same influences, like nature, Greece and Rome, the tone of his stories are far more “dark” and “mysterious” than that of other writers. Through this story we can observe the main character’s (Egaeus) constant mention of his illness and how it has affected his life since childhood, not only does he explain the irrationality of his disease but also the state of wretchedness and gloom which he has had to endure. It is exceptionally remarkable how along the story, he almost inconspicuously, complains about his condition and at the same time is taken over by it. This is only completely noticeable at the end of the story, though it can also be noticed when he sees his cousin/wife Berenice in front of him, all dreamy-like, radiant and perfect, when in reality she was marked physically and in her personality by yet another strange disease. Oddly enough, he never targets his mania for contemplation and deep thinking to Berenice’s cause, though he does explain her condition as a mix of epilepsy followed by a cataleptic stage which at last, turns into abrupt recovery. Furthermore, it is important to say that the choice of point of view of the narrator, highly relates to the unreliability of...
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