Evens And Odds In The Puploined Letter

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Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Purloined Letter” uses the repetition of games and numbers throughout the story to highlight the complexities of the detective story. As Dupin works to solve the mystery of “The Purloined Letter,” Poe incorporates several instances of the theme of evens and odds. Poe’s use of numbers helps to explain the complexity of the mystery and Dupin’s detective skills. However, Poe’s repeated use of evens and odds can be read as an allusion to Dupin’s plan for revenge against Minister D—. This vengeance scheme is essential to “The Purloined Letter” as it undermines Dupin’s seemingly moral integrity and devotion to justice, and his revenge plan demonstrates that he has an underlying selfish motive to his work as a detective. Although Poe’s use of evens and odds appears to echo game theory and the intricacies of investigative thinking,…show more content…
The primary example of evens and odds in “The Purloined Letter” is seen in Dupin’s description of the schoolboy’s game called “evens and odds,” and in this game, the talented schoolboy is able to repeatedly win by identifying with his opponent (1247). This game begins to suggest Dupin’s motives through the repeated use of the word “even.” Despite its initial harmless meaning in the context of the game, this word also connects with Dupin’s revenge as “even” can be interpreted as “becoming or getting even with someone.” Furthermore, because the schoolboy imitates his opponents, he is literally seen as “becoming even” as he develops the same facial features and characteristics as his opponents. This sense of connection with the opponent is also echoed in Dupin’s mysterious history with Minister D—. By foreshadowing the ties between D— and Dupin, and repeating the word “even,” Poe alludes to Dupin’s revenge plan, and this plan undermines Dupin’s motives as a
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