Essay on Insanity, By Edgar Allan Poe

2138 Words Apr 25th, 2016 9 Pages
Insanity is a form of disease whose victim shows no physical signs of illness. Insanity can take the form of obsession and consume its victim?s mind and entire being. In many of Edgar Allan Poe?s short stories, his characters possess this phantom illness. Poe keeps his readers conflicted about how his ?stable? characters possess a questionable mental state.[endnoteRef:1] Stories like ?The Tell-Tale Heart,? ?The Premature Burial,? ?The Oval Portrait,? and ?Berenice,? illustrate the very plague of insanity taking the form of obsession. Each protagonist is infatuated with either an inanimate object or an abstract idea which drives each over the edge. There are different extents a person will go to in order to satisfy his or her needs and desires. Similar to that of an addict, Poe?s characters go above and beyond in order to placate his or her obsession. Because Poe focuses on insanity in his short stories, the most prominent theme throughout is obsession. [1: Cornelius, Kay and Harold Bloom, ed. Edgar Allan Poe (Broomhall, PA: Chelsea House, 2002) 43.]

Poe has always been a connoisseur of the horror and terror genera when it comes to short stories. One critic says, ?He presents realistic details in gothic settings.?[endnoteRef:2] Poe used Gothic literature not only in his short stories, but in his poems as well. ?The Raven? is a well-known Gothic style poem from Poe. ??Poe considered madness a purely intellectual entanglement?[endnoteRef:3] which is why many of the…

Related Documents