The Murders in the Rue Morgue

Topics: Edgar Allan Poe, The Murders in the Rue Morgue, Detective fiction Pages: 4 (1265 words) Published: March 18, 2001
In Edgar Allan Poe's "The Murders in the Rue Morgue", a crucial statement is declared about how he views the inner workings of men, as well as how men interact with women in society. The narrative is based around the horrific murder of two defenseless women, which seems to have been committed by a mystery "beast". Poe demonstrates the primitive violent forces that exist within people, particularly men, which have the ability to escape in shocking ways, often against a woman. Poe uses violence as a negative, inhumane act, in order to reinforce the innate brutal impulses that are just under the surface of all male beings.

Poe describes where the "Ourang-Outang" was originally taken from, with intent to embody the primitive undeveloped qualities in man. After being taken from an Indian Archipelago, Borneo, the Ourang-Outang is brought back to Paris, where he begins to obtain human characteristics simply by watching his master and learning through imitation. An example of this would be when the sailor comes back to his room and finds the Ourang-Outang "Razor in hand, and fully lathered, [it was] sitting before the looking-glass, attempting the operation of shaving, in which it had no doubt previously watched its master though the key-hole of the closet."(Poe 120) When the beast becomes terrified, and escapes with the razor still in his hand, he is depicting the idea of a man's inner "beast" getting loose when he fears a situation. During the scene when the Ourang-Outang "was flourishing the razor about her [Madame L'Espanaye's] face, imitating the motions of a barber"(121), the beast is thinking just like a human man. He is even using a human tool in order to commit these atrocious murders, which is indicative of Poe's notion that all men are capable of performing horrible deeds at a time when their animalistic impulses take over.

There is a stark contrast presented between civilized behavior and the primitive behavior that these slaughters suggest. The murders...

Cited: 1. Poe, Edgar Allan. Selected Tales. New York: Oxford University Press Inc., 1998.
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