Representation of Evil in Poe and Hawthorne's Stories

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Miguel Bonilla Rivera
Instr. Adriana Dorado
INGL 3104, sec. 080
22 February 2013
The Evil Presence
Since the discovery of philosophy by the Greek civilizations man has always tried to find the cause of many fundamental problems that are connected to the reality and existence of factors that contribute to these dilemmas but still remain unknown to humanity. One of the most controversial questions philosophy tries to answer is the origin of what we consider evil, who or what is connected to the main cause of the pain and suffering that goes on throughout the world. “Evil is when one purposefully causes pain, not pain caused by fault, knowing something is morally wrong, but still proceeds in doing so. Simply by the definition of evil, one can only have a grasp of what evil is, but only through experience one can understand evil fully since it is readily perceived differently among people of certain religions, races, ages, sexes, and mental prowess” (Origin of Evil 2, 1). In “The Tell Tale Heart”, Edgar Allan Poe expresses his perspective of evil through the planning of a murder while Nathaniel Hawthorne demonstrates his knowledge of the representation of an evil force just by using a piece of black cloth to cover the main character’s face in the story “Minister’s Black Veil”. Although the presence of evil changes the atmosphere in both stories, there are several differences that modify the development of the plot.

Firstly, the setting provided in each story helps the readers get a clearer view of how the surrounding atmosphere can affect the decisions taken by the characters. On one hand, “His room was as black as pitch with the thick darkness, “for the shutters were close fastened, through fear of robbers, and so I knew that he could not see the opening of the door, and I kept pushing it on steadily, steadily” (Poe, 4), demonstrates that “The Tell-Tale Heart” is taking place in the bedroom of an old man in an unknown house during the night. Aside from...
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