In Poe┤s The premature burial,there are three references at the end:Carathis,Afrasiab and Oxus?

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At the end of Poe┤s story,"The premature burial" there are three references:Carathis,Afraisab and Oxus.Could I have information on these?Thank you.

-- Anonymous, November 05, 2001

Answers

Response to In Poe┬┤s The premature burial,there are three references at the end:Carathis,Afrasiab and Oxus?

Laura,

The answer is not easy, but here goes...

Poe alludes to Horace Binney Wallace's 1838 novel, Stanley: "... with all the ardor of desperation; he sounded passion to its depth, and raked the bottom of the gulf of sin; he explored, with the indomitable spirit of Carathis, every chamber and cavern of the earthly hell of bad delights." Carathis was a wicked old witch in William Beckford's Vathek (1786) who was granted a day to command the treasures of Hell before she was damned forever. She used that day well!

Another quotation from Wallace: "The passions are like those demons with whom Afrasiab sailed down the river Oxus, our safety consists in keeping them asleep; if they wake we are lost." Afrasiab was a legendary bad king in the Persian epic Shah Nameh, Oxus is just the name of the river he sailed down.

None of this really matters because Poe doesn't use these names in a particularly complicated way and the final paragraph of 'The Premature Burial' makes sense without knowing the details.

-- Anonymous, November 05, 2001


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