What's a good Poe character (female) I could dress up as?

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My school is having a dance in which you must dress up as a character from Poe's works to gain entrance. I am determined to go to that dance but cluless as to who I should dress up as. I've pondered over this for two weeks and still haven't come up with anything. Does anyone have an idea? Any response would be greatly appreciated.

-- Anonymous, October 15, 2003


Recently entombed, boxed or enshrouded ladies(Berenice(teeth pulled), Ligeia(shrouds, transcribed into the corpse of the second wife) Madeleine Usher(drool lots of fake blood), Morella(transcribed into her own baby)

The murdered wife in the black cat(props:axe in head, black cat)Scherezade(humor)

Idealized ladies: Helen(Greek goddess like, or Sarah Whitman), Irene(The Sleeper), Annabel Lee. The short dancing girl Trippetta from "Hop Frog", Lenore from the Raven, Eleanora, Eulalie.

The Venetian Marchesa Aphrodite(suicide pact) from "The Assignation"

dead as doornail ladies "The Oblong Box" "the Oval Portrait" the women killed by the orangutang in "The Murders on the Rue Morgue"

Historical references in poems addressed to ladies whose portraits and clothes can be found in pictures(Sarah Whitman, Jane Stanard, Annie Richmond, , Royster, Fanny Osgood)

Of course male characters I suppose are fair game and even better known. Or you could ooze in as the Conqueror Worm. Obviously there will be more than one choosing to wear the mask of the Red Death- which would be overkill.

-- Anonymous, October 16, 2003

Lesser-known Poe characters:

PUNDITA, from the futuristic story "Mellonta Tauta." She's a balloon- traveler in the year 2848---so your imagination could go all out on the costume. Could combine 19th-century wear, with whatever you think women might be wearing in 2848 (or what you think 19th-cent. folks may have imagined).

SIGNORA PSYCHE ZENOBIA, the loudly-dressed narrator of "How to Write a Blackwood Article" & "A Predicament." This full-of-it literary lady compares herself to a butterfly "in [her] new crimson satin dress, with the sky-blue Arabian mantelet, and the trimmings of green agraffas, and the seven flounces of orange-colored auriculas." A mantelet is a short cape. An auricula is a type of flower. As for agraffa---I could not find a definition online. So it's either obscure, or--very probably---a word Poe made up. Miss Zenobia costume extras: ---Stuffed poodle: Psyche's pet is Diana, a 5-inch-high poodle with a blue ribbon. ---Literary ladies in Poe's time were called bluestockings, so you could add that article of clothing.

A GERMAN/DUTCH HAUSFRAU. Poe's comic stories "Devil in the Belfry" and "The Unparalleled Adventure of Hans Pfall" are full of them.

The great-grandmother in "The Spectacles" (prominent glasses suggested). For those who enjoy faking a French accent.

Women from Poe's poems: ---The Virgin Mary, "Hymn," 1835.

---The troubled bride, from "Bridal Ballad" & "I Saw Thee on The Bridal Day" ("a burning blush came o'er thee"). Both poems re. a bride who's not sure if she's married the right guy.

---Old Alberto's daughter, from his early poem "To the River ---" (Italy's river Po). Possible costume: Italian maiden of the past as reflected in a river. Maybe with lots of glimmering ribbons, celophane, etc.

---Tamarlane's youthful love. Costume: Maiden from 14th-century Baghdad.

Not female characters, but: The title character in "Some Words With a Mummy." "The Angel of the Odd"---a strangle little fellow whose body is made entirely of ale barrels, wine bottles & the like. Speaks with Dutch/German accent.

Not a character, but: Sarah Helen Whitman (see the post above mine). This Poe fiancee was a somewhat mystical person. Wore a small coffin pendant around her neck, plus lots of scarves & veils. Huffed ether.(Personally I think she "out-Gothed" Poe---though it was Poe's idea to propose to her in a cemetery.) Or---this is obscure but---Sarah H. Whitman once dressed up for a ball as a Turk. This included her adding heavy eyebrows and a Poe- like mustache. So in a way, she was sort of going in reverse drag as Poe.

The dance sounds like fun; hope this has been helpful.

-- Anonymous, October 22, 2003

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