the lake to--? an interpretation.greenspun.com : LUSENET : The Work of Edgar Allan Poe : One Thread
I am writing a essay which is an analysis of "the pit and pendulum", "the tell-tale heart", "oval portrait", "fall of the house of usher", "black cat". As an extra thing I have to put "the lake to-" in comparison. I'm not asking foolish questions -I have done my homework -but it would be nice to know what you think..
-- Anonymous, February 01, 2002
Now that I have Thomas Mabbott's book I don't have to guess quite so much, although Poe deliberately sought vague, suggestive moods and refused often to "explain" his poems. The Lake is an early poem, one of his best then. The identity of the Lake as the Lake of the Dismal Swamp, Drummond's Pond, Lake Drummond near Norfolk seems fitting. Phsically similar in detail it is supposedly haunted by the benign ghosts of two lovers. Hence the traveller finds his heaven in its waves in Poe's poem. The Lake combines the solace of tranquil repose with the terror of darkness and death, but above all a strange refuge for the darkened spirit.
What it has to do with the above works you describe I leave to you, but it is this constant engagement of Poe with death and terror that must be seen with his overwhelming positive search for life. That point seems lost to us and as mad as the characters of the TellTale Heart and Black Cat. Usher kept pursuing art even while posssessed by his encroaching doom. The Lake is not about suicide so much as standing hopefully on that dark shore seeing hope beeath the deadly surface, but obviously not too inclined to jump in. The haunting moods of past tragedies and horrors infringe upon the present and beckon from the gulf, but so does the Ideal and cherished memories.
-- Anonymous, February 02, 2002