HOw was it potrayed>? : LUSENET : The Work of Edgar Allan Poe : One Thread

How was his personality and bitterness potrayed in his works especially hop frog and a cask of armontillado?

-- Anonymous, November 13, 2003


Poe's humor could be less congenial and subtle than one might desire. Boorish enemies set above him ruinously. Those critical of his person or works were more than he could put up with. Normally very witty and controlled even he recognized when he was not, but since his readership and those lesser beings did not merit too careful a handling his writings were very broad and malicious, heavy handed to the point of insult. A good article at Poe Studies available online talks about Poe's black burlesque humor, the "grin" of the self-pleased jokester.

There is nothing funny about Hop Frog's artful vengeance, nor the suave cleverness of Montresor(although represeed guilt is plainly operative underneath the facade). Hop Frog is more plainly an allegory-autobiography in the sense of general characterization and the conflict between the "little guy" and the establishment, involving his wife Virginia as Tripetta. It turns things topsy turvy with subtle reverse references to past tales("Murders on the Rue Morge" orangutangs and escape from closed room). Note that even the Amontillado tale of revenge is reversed with the jester becoming the avenger.

Poe needed to guard his esteem so beleaguered was his combative art and career. His own portrayal of raw nerves finds release in tales such as these- perhaps. Definitely the anti-tale "Hop-Frog" which makes few pretensions to follow a fictional genre genuinely. Critics would say such spleen was too much, too personal and self-present, as opposed to "The Cask of Amontillado". As usual, they may have fallen into a Poe trap anyway since so many things in Hop Frog are turned literally upside down, including the happy ending and esape of the two wronged captives. For, if tragedy cannot be overcome, certainly Poe will not let his art be defeated, marginalized or popularized from the comfort of the high literary circles.

-- Anonymous, November 13, 2003

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