Edgar Allan Poe's Misogynistic Attitudes In Literature

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Edgar Allan Poe has had an exceptional influence on decadent writing including Charles Baudelaire’s works of literature. In many of Poe’s works, Poe portrays women in a dark light and had killed numerous amounts of women in his stories. Poe also wrote in one of his essays that he found the death of a beautiful woman in literature to be the most poetic topic to be written about. His attitude of dying women was passed on into the decadent school of literature and thought. I am going to be analyzing Poe’s work and show how the misogynistic attitudes in his stories were passed on in the decadent school of thought particularly in Baudelaire’s poems. My thesis is: Edgar Allan Poe’s misogyny came across in his portrayal of women in his stories; this…show more content…
I am going to analyze Edgar Allan Poe’s “Ligeia” to illustrate Poe’s misogyny. For Charles Baudelaire I am going to mainly be analyzing his “Les Bijoux” in Les Fleurs du Mal but I am also going to be looking at his “Le Masque.” Poe’s “Ligeia” is about a man experiencing the death of a wife, and then he re-marries and finds his second wife dying of an illness very similar to the way his first wife died. Soon after his second wife dies, a woman appearing very much like his first wife, Ligeia, appears to him which torments his mind. In Baudelaire’s “Les Bijoux,” a narrator is with a woman wearing nothing but a jewel. In the poem, the woman is described as a seductress and although she makes many advances to the narrator he tries to resist her. In Baudelaire’s “Le Masque,” two men are observing the statue of a woman. At first, the statue appears as a beautiful creature; however, as the men continue to stare at the statue it becomes uglier and grotesque. I chose all of these literary works because they most strongly depict Baudelaire and Poe’s portrayals of women. These stories all relate to another for purposes of analysis because they all portray images of woman by two of the most influential authors for the decadent…show more content…
Though, many scholars have looked at misogyny in Poe’s works of literature or Baudelaire’s poems. None have explicitly seen how Poe’s works were both misogynistic and how this misogyny was carried on in decadent writing. I am contributing to this area of knowledge because I am going to illustrate how Poe’s and Baudelaire’s misogynistic views were reflective of dominant views at the time, especially in the decadent school of thought. Unfortunately, since I am mainly looking at two authors, I cannot ascertain that my findings are to be found in every single author’s works concerning women in the decadent school. Therefore, further research would need to be done looking at other decadent authors and how their stories portray women and if they portray them in a misogynistic nature. However, I may be able to resolve part of this my deep analysis of Poe’s and Baudelaire’s works. Since they were the most influential author of the decadent movement, I think I can assume that other authors tried writing similarly to them because they were inspired by them. I am also still short on philosophical articles looking at the decadent movement but I am going to continue searching for articles that study this
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