Posted: May 28th, 2021

Writings by Edgar Allan Poe Insight

Dezzie B. Ligon III 10/30/12 English 5 Mr. Rabot Without Recourse Thesis: The act of death is that of many intricate parts. It is destined, at times a mystery that is sought, frequently sudden and ill accepted, and recurrently caused by vengeance lacking true justice. Title: “Conqueror Worm” In life lies destiny, in destiny lies death. The poem “Conqueror Worm” by Edgar Allan Poe exemplifies this fact by portraying man as a tragedy and a worm as the hero.
The poem is set as a play with a plot telling of sin, madness, and horror. The angels are the audience members, man is shown as mimes that fly around as mere puppets, and the writhing Conqueror Worm surfaces at the climax of the play and devours said mimes. After the curtain’s fall the angels then confirm “that the play is the tragedy “Man”, and its hero the Conqueror Worm. ” The theme of this poem is conveyed to the reader in the quote “The mimes become its food”. The meaning of this is that in the end, all of man is destined to die and become worm food.
His use of diction in the choosing of the word “become” instead of a word such as “are” tells the reader that man is not born as worm food, but as destiny catches up they will inevitably succumb to such a fate. Additionally, although the Conqueror Worm is the collection of all worms that ultimately devour man’s bodies, it is also the embodiment of death itself. Surprisingly, Poe uses this embodiment of death as the protagonist of the story. This then creates the conflict of Man vs. Death, or more simply Character vs. Nature. Man is the Character while Death is Nature. Sadly, in such a conflict Nature always prevails.

This conflict thus gives more support to the idea that death is but the destiny of man. This ending destiny is also shown in the quote “Out-out are the light-out all! ” in which after the arrival of the writhing worm nothing but darkness remains. Man’s mortality will always plague itself because there is only one thing man is meant to do. That is the everlasting fate of becoming nothing but worm food. Title: “Ms. Found in a Bottle” In death lies mystery, in mystery lies those who seek answers. The short story “Ms. Found in a Bottle” by Edgar Allan Poe illustrates this idea through the intricate retelling of the final moments of a man’s life.
The story is told through first person view by an unnamed narrator. The narrator originally sets sail from Java on a ship headed to the Sunda Islands; however the trip is ruined by a storm that kills all crew members except for him and an old swede. Though they are alive, there ship is swept south by a whirlpool for 5 days before a black ships appears and collides with his ship. The narrator is thus thrown onto the new ship where he comes into contact with very ancient looking crew members who do not acknowledge his presence. Eventually he overcomes his despair and eagerly awaits the discovery of the most southern parts of the world.
Sadly, before reaching their final destination the ice parts revealing a giant whirlpool that sinks the very large black ship. The underlying theme of the story is conveyed in the quote “I presume, utterly impossible; yet a curiosity to penetrate the mysteries of these awful regions, predominates even over my despair” in which the narrator tells the reader that his yearning for answers to the mysteries of the unchartered region stands above his actual fear of death. However, the unexplored region isn’t actually that of the south.
The south is just an embodiment of the realm of the dead and the curiosity the narrator feels is for the mystery of the inevitable death. The whirlpool that takes him and the ancient crew mates to such a realm is a symbol used by Poe to depict a doorway to an unknown place. This is a perfect symbol because the whirlpool only brings things down into the depths, the depths of the underworld itself. Additionally, the wanting of answers is also portrayed in the statement “It is evident that we are hurrying onwards to some exciting knowledge-some never-to-be imparted secret, whose attainment in destruction”.
Here it is obvious that the knowledge they are seeking is that of death, death being that which leads to destruction of oneself. The ancient crew members he set final voyage with seemed quite peculiar. It was as if they were on the brink of death but holding out for a sole reason. Right before the whirlpool hits it is said “but there is upon their countenances an expression more of the eagerness of hope than of the apathy of despair. ” The ancient ship mates seem to know of what is to come and smile because now they can truly find the answers they sought.
To both them and eventually the narrator, death is something they seek because the mysteries of the realm of the dead are to interesting to be left unanswered. Title: Annabel Lee In death lies abruptness, in abruptness lies ill acceptance. The poem “Annabel Lee” by Edgar Allan Poe exemplifies this idea through the poetic telling of the death of a young boy’s loved one. Annabel Lee, who long ago lived “in a kingdom by the sea”, loved the narrator; however she was abruptly killed by a wind that chilled her.
The narrator mad with love thought that the Angels had envied their love and conspired with nature to send said wind that killed her. According to the narrator, their love was too strong to be severed by the “Angels in heaven above” or the “demons down under the sea”. He is reminded of Annabel Lee by everything, “For the moon never beams, without bringing me dreams of Annabel Lee”, and at night he lies by her tomb by the sea. The theme of the poem is conveyed in the lines “With a love that the winged seraphs of heaven coveted her and me.
And this was the reason that, long ago… A wind blew out of a cloud, chilling my beautiful Annabel Lee”. Here depicts the idea that when one suddenly dies someone else tends to have a hard time accepting their death and instead places blame on things which blame cannot logically be placed. The narrator, along with many other people in real life, has trouble accepting the death of someone he loved so strongly. Thus, he seeks to blame the Angels or more specifically but only through inference, God. “The angels… went envying her and me-Yes! that was the reason… that the wind came… killing my Annabel Lee. ” Once again, the ill acceptance of the sudden death of his loved one is shown by him still ludicrously placing blame on angels controlling the winds. This constant condemnation of the Angels then creates a small Character vs. Nature conflict in which the narrator-being the character-just isn’t fully able to accept this sudden death caused by Nature. We all know death is inevitable, however, when it rears its ugly fangs and causes a late death of someone we care about, we lack the capability of complete acceptance.
Title: The Cask of Amontillado In death lies revenge, in revenge lies injustice. The short story “The Cask of Amontillado” portrays this idea through the recount of a vengeful plot devised by the narrator Montresor. At its beginning it is shown that Montresor held a grudge against Fortunato. Montresor says “when he ventured upon insult, I vowed revenge”. Fortunato’s insult is unknown but to the narrator it is quite serious. He then with the use of reverse psychology, tricks Fortunato into becoming intoxicated and into a niche hidden deep within the Montresor catacombs.
Montresor then easily overcomes the drunken Fortunato and chains him within the niche. To finish his plot of revenge he walls Fortunato into his newfound tomb. The underlying theme of the story is conveyed in the quote “I hastened to make an end of my labor”. At first glance it would seem this is simply referring to Montresor and his completion of his makeshift wall, but it has a much stronger hidden meaning. The use of the word “end” refers to the sentence given to the convicted and the use of the word “labor” is that of the arduous take of being jury, judge, and executioner.
Montresor, driven by vengeance, creates his own untrue law and condemns the accused to a penalty not of death but that which will inevitably lead to such a fate. This odd “sentence” of Fortunato by Montresor can also be originally seen in the line “I must not only punish, but punish with impunity. ” Here Montresor says he has to punish him, but in a paradoxical way punish him without punishing him. This is indeed what Montresor tried to do by locking him away, but letting him live.
However, the idea of punishment with impunity is ludicrous because it is not possible. In reality, Montresor did punish him thus being another reason why vengeance is of untrue justice and law. Poe, making Montresor the protagonist, even though he is indeed doing evil deeds also supports the idea of vengeance without true law. When vengeance causes death, or like here when vengeance speeds up the ever turning wheel of the inevitable, it is not possible for justice to be uninvolved. However, it is also impossible for true and “good” justice to be associated as well.

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