Discuss in Edar Allen Poe's poems the roles of his women

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What are the roles of the women in Edgar Allen Poe's poetry?

-- Anonymous, December 17, 2002


Idealized to the point of being depersonalized, intercessory or beacon like angels, the focus point of the poetic emotion or quest. Actual women in this vague style provoke real anguish or roblems with grief and separation for the poet. In "Paen" he defends the deceased woman and denies the hypocritical public grieving. In the second "To Helen" we finally get a real courtship poem, in "Eulalie" in praise of his wife, but they are still couched in the service of poetic sentiment, the heart of the poet- not the person of the beloved. The closest you can get is the powerof their attraction, their eyes, their face, their love for him.

It is small wonder that in his stories the mind of the woman is rarely if ever explored and never in a first basis narration. Comedies alone break through this barrier(Sheherezade,eg). The women are the ideal as described in Poe's "The Theory of Composition", young, beautiful, sickly and dead in pure bathos with the focus completely upon the relevant feeling within the poet. So the women can never be attained, but in their separation become still more strongly attached to their lover.

However, as in Wuthering Heights by Bronte, this is not necessarily totally a happy situation for the poet. Horror, revolt and contradictory obsession seem just as strong or even wholly in place of real love(Ligeia).

-- Anonymous, December 18, 2002

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