Symbolism And Allusion In The Tell-Tale Heart And The Raven

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Poe’s Use of Symbolism and Allusion Edgar Allan Poe is often regarded as the “Father of Gothic Literature,” and rightfully so. He composed a myriad of works that are now viewed as staples in the world of literature. With writings such as “The Raven,” “The Bells,” “The Black Cat,” and, “The Tell-Tale Heart,” he has changed the way readers indulge themselves in literature. Within each of his works, Poe provides the reader with a glance into his personal life, whether it be his preference of day over night, or some of his deeper struggles within himself, including substance abuse and his Survivor’s guilt over the death of many people who were dear to him. This is exemplified in his works, “The Raven,” and “The Black Cat,” where he uses symbolism…show more content…
In “The Raven,” he suggests that the eyes of the Raven symbolize his inner demons, claiming that they stare into his soul and compress his heart with the guilt he carries. This is evident when he describes the raven’s eyes as “fiery eyes [which had] now burned into my bosom’s core” (Poe 74). The eyes of the raven continually haunt the narrator throughout the poem, and since the poem is a projection of Poe’s emotions, it can be understood that Poe sees the eyes as a constant reminder of the burden of grief he has within himself. Similarly, in “The Black Cat,” the narrator of the story becomes angry with his cat, Pluto, and tears out one of his eyes while under the influence of alcohol. He eventually kills his cat, in a fit of rage, and then believes that the cat comes back to haunt him; He encounters a similar cat that bears a strange resemblance to Pluto. Coincidentally, this cat is also missing an eye, which can represent the recurrence of the eye within Poe’s works. Poe writes, “What added, no doubt, to my hatred of the beast was the discovery, on the morning after I brought it home, that, like Pluto, it also had been deprived of one of its eyes” (Poe, para 19). The narrator is taken aback by the cat's remaining eye, as well, claiming that it withholds an inner fire, comparable to that of the raven. The eyes of both creatures…show more content…
Essentially, in “The Raven,” the allusions that Poe used suggested that he is desperate to forget his grief and guilt. This is presented when Poe states, “Quaff, oh quaff this kind nepenthe and forget this lost Lenore!” (Poe, 83). Nepenthe refers to the river of forgetfulness, located in the underworld, which allows the drinker to be rid of the memories and emotions that haunt them. Here, Poe begs to drink from nepenthe in order to forget about his sorrow. Divergently, in “The Black Cat,” Poe does not want to forget about his pain. Instead, he chooses to blame other beings for his pain. He writes, “The fury of a demon instantly possessed me. I knew myself no longer. My original soul seemed at once to take its flight from my body” (Poe, para 7). The claim that he has been possessed and some other being has forced him to commit such terrible deeds is an allusion to the mythological creatures, known as “Eidolons”, who are known to possess humans and machines and force them to perform tasks under their control. Their victim would often feel as if their “original soul seemed at once to take its flight from [their] body.” This allusion to such creatures is an attempt by Poe to escape the harsh reality of his sadness and guilt. He tries to rid himself of the blame but is
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