Augustus Bedloegreenspun.com : LUSENET : The Work of Edgar Allan Poe : One Thread
What is it with Augustus Bedloe ? How is it that Mr. Oldeb had a portrait of him ? Was Augustus superhuman somehow and had been alive , or was the whole thing a symbolic representation of reincarnation ? I know Augustus's death at the end of the story kinda contradicts the former , but , I am still confused and uncertain . If it was just a representation of reincarnation , why was it so literal , and in the story , Templeton says of the portrait "It is the likeness of a dead friend , Mr.Oldeb .." , so that means he recieved the portrait from Mr.Oldeb , right ? And in the same paragraph , Templeton says "..it was the miraculous similarity between you and the painting .." , and so , the portrait was obviously not of Mr.Oldeb himself , and so , is it just unknown how Mr.Oldeb got the portrait , and if it was indeed Augustus Bedloe in the portrait , or what ? And , could you point out the perceived flaws of the story , I'm really interested in this particular story , and I'd like to understand every aspect of it as fully as possible . Thank You
-- Anonymous, March 20, 2002
William Wilson, Pym and Augustus Barnard, Ligeia, Morellla, etc. Reincarnation, the double. I think it is clear the portrait was of the killed British officer that resembles Bedloe.
The twist is that the name reversal, a hackneyed occult device was due to a typo. Their is more than a hint that the obsession of Templeton possessed his "patient" whom he seems trying to recreate through hypnosis into Oldeb. This darker, rational explanation, possibly murderous, is lost on the narrator who is naively astounded by the wonder of reincarnation. Poe is typically teasing and withdrawing a bit from the gothic supernatural tale but not too concerned to let the average reader into a profounder more rational(and disturbing) meaning. (See Premature Burial and the narrator realizing the foolishness of his obsession). The result does not even seems ambiguous so much as having to rely on the narrator's awe on Bedloe's dream, whether we like it or not. At least a strong case for malpractice here against Templeton.
-- Anonymous, March 21, 2002