Mad Charactersgreenspun.com : LUSENET : The Work of Edgar Allan Poe : One Thread
I'm writing a paper on Poe's mad characters. I'm trying to figure out why exactly he wrote about them, what sparked his enthusiasm to show us the dark side of our nature and if his own life experiences had anything to do with the mad characters he had portrayed. Any feedback would be welcome. Thank you.
-- Anonymous, November 05, 2001
Poe decidedly features his type of mind, the madly passionate, cleverly rational explorer of wild possibilities. Often confined to a trap or horrific puzzle it is usually an adventure of mind at issue.
You are hinting at the "dark side." Well, typical Gothic stories are a dark genre not to be confused with the writer. He drew upon internal tendencies(Imp of the Perverse, etc.)that alcohol brought to the fore in Poe's own life- but not in violence or extreme behavior. Excitability comes from alcohol, madness or sickness which for Poe were a personal trinity in his worst times. This however is not all of Poe, nor his best part. These particular dark tales are not all his works, nor necessarily his best and most original. These characters often resemble the Byronic hero of the Romantic movement, with a Poe twist and originality. His studies of the German school and other poets like Coleridge are just as important lest you think that Poe got the whole cloth from some warped section of his life and mind! That is why Poe's real claim to originality comes from his fusion of all his originality and poetic perceptions in the creation of the modern detective mystery.
-- Anonymous, November 06, 2001