Purloined Letter

Topics: Edgar Allan Poe, Detective fiction, The Murders in the Rue Morgue Pages: 2 (602 words) Published: May 4, 2011
Edgar Allan Poe's The Purloined Letter is widely considered the greatest of his three detective short stories. The story revolves around C. Auguste Dupin, a detective who also appears in Poe's other two detective works The Murders in the Rue Morgue and The Mystery of Marie Rogêt, and the Paris police as they try to solve the mystery of a missing letter. The letter contains important information about a political figure in a high position that could potentially this person, which causes serious concern among the police. The prefect of the Paris police, Monsieur G—, claims that a man by the name of Minister D— has stolen the letter and replaced it with a duplicate letter of his own. Dupin claims that because the letter is readily available, it must be in Minister D—'s apartment, but Monsieur G— responds that they have thoroughly checked the Minister's apartment and there was no letter to be found. When Monsieur G— returns back to Dupin a month later with an increased fifty-thousand dollar reward, Dupin presents the letter him and collects the reward.

The Purloined Letter presents a theme which is logic vs. intuition. While searching for the stolen letter in the Minister's apartment, the Paris police use intuition because they assume that the letter would be in a small, hidden compartment. However the Minister anticipates that the police would overlook a very obvious location, which on his mantle with another group of letters. When Dupin visits the Minister's residence, he notices the letter in a very obvious spot. By using simple logic and thinking as the Minister did, Dupin was able to solve the central conflict quite easily when he returned the letter to the police. Unlike most Poe stories, the conflict was resolved without any catastrophe or death as well.

Dupin makes a few references to his thought process at the end of the work. He makes a reference to young boys playing even and odds, a game that requires knowledge of the opponent. This story relates to...
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