Edgar Allan Poe was a novelist and poet that defined the way literature could be written and interpreted. He strayed from conventionalism, sticking to a standard that was truly unique. He was surrounded by a life of poverty and alcoholism, which in turn influenced much of his writing, and made for a plethora of revolutionary short stories. Edgar Allan Poe created a style of his own featuring defining stylistic characteristics of point of view, themes of horror, setting, and character in his works “The Black Cat”, “The Tell-Tale heart”, and “The Cask of Amontillado”.
Point of view helps to create different perspectives and insight that allows the reader to form their own conclusions. Poe has a parallel theme of first person narrative point of view that occurs throughout these three stories. Each character takes the role of the story- teller, carefully and descriptfully re-telling the accounts of their incidents. In the very beginning of each story, insight is gained to this perspective such as in the opening to “The Black Cat” ,”For the most wild, yet most homely narrative which I am about to pen, I neither expect nor solicit belief…. very natural causes and effects.
” (Black Cat 381). The reader gains personal access into the stories as these narrators tell their personal viewpoints. These main characters control the action and become trusted partners in the readers experience so they can more easily gasp the protagonist’s realities. Poe uses this particular first person point of view to heighten the suspense and horror. These main characters go on with life trying to convince themselves that they aren’t sick, as they are committing such vicious and heinous acts against humanity “If still you think me mad, you will think so no longer…
” (Tell-Tale 356). This is also evident in the Tell- Tale Heart as the narrator proclaims “True- nervous- very, very dreadfully nervous I had been and am; but why will you say that I am mad? ” (354). They become meretricious narrators, carefully deceiving themselves of the root of their evils, thus creating dramatic irony. This point of view chosen by Poe eliminates the need for superfluous material from background characters and outside sources, and enhances his alluring writing feature of horror and disgust.
Through Poe’s use of descriptive language and incredible attention to detail he creates themes of horror than are evident in each of these short stories. Each story recalls the events of multiple murders that have either been carefully conceived or spontaneously acted out. These chilling stories encapture you and leave not too much room for the imagination to wander ,such as in this excerpt from “The Tell-Tale Heart”, ” First of all I dismembered the corpse.
I cut off te head and arms and legs” (Tell-Tale 356). This image is very vivid and puts the reader directly in the middle of the main action. In “The Black Cat”, a harmless creature, a black cat, becomes the root of all evil that results in the death of the cat and the eventual brutal murder of the narrators wife “In the next, a dozen stout arms were toiling at the wall…. the hideous beast whose craft had seduced me into murder… “(Black Cat 387).
The Tell-Tale heart is the story of one mans superstitions of the evil eye and the events that lead to him murdering and dismembering an elderly man “I removed the bed and examined the corpse… he was stone dead. ” (Tell-Tale 356). In “The Cask of Amontillado”, a careful scheme of premeditated murder unfolds as the narrator lures his prey to his unsuspecting death, being blocked into a palazzo cellar “Throwing them aside, I soon uncovered a quantity of building stone and mortar. With these materials and with the aid of my trowel, I began vigorously to wall up the entrance of the niche” (Amontillado 345).