Themes in Edgar Allen Poe's Stories

Topics: Edgar Allan Poe, The Fall of the House of Usher, Short story Pages: 3 (998 words) Published: January 6, 2011
Poe Theme Essay
The many different works of Edgar Allan Poe all aim to do one thing. Strike fear into the heart of the reader. Simple, yet effective, he expresses fear through these many different themes and motifs. At full length, Poe’s stories all acquire a distinct theme or motif that moves the story forward. Whether you know it or not, many of his stories rely on themes and motifs to make the story more appealing to the reader. Time, duality, and dreams all play key roles in Poe’s short stories. They descriptively provide all of the necessary information in order to produce the whole concept of fear. Without them, these stories wouldn’t push you to the edge of your seat, wondering what is going to happen next.

Time plays a major role in providing the story with the crucial data it needs to make the story frightening and suspenseful. It presents the story with a visual that makes the mood of the story transition into a very adverse setting. Dusk is probably the most common time of day in many of Poe’s stories. He chooses dusk because, during that time of day, it is very difficult to see. For example, in “The Fall of the House of Usher” the narrator begins to describe how it is very difficult to see while he is making his way towards his child hood friend’s mansion. When choosing the time of day that produces little or no light, Poe tries to make the setting as dark as possible. Light represents happiness and positivity, so Poe tries to eliminate anything that represents prosperity. By assembling negative forces, the story will generate fear into the reader. In “The Tell-Tale Heart” the narrator stalks his pray for seven days, but on the eighth night the narrator commits the horrible deed. The number eight is used frequently with Poe and his stories; in this case, it represents what day the narrator will kill the old man. With “Masque of the Red Death”, time represents life. It represents life because once a person is infected with the red death; the...
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