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English - The Oval Portrait : IOP
Transcript of English - The Oval Portrait : IOP
How does Poe use imagery, irony, and juxtapostion to illustrate the relationship between reality and fantasy ?
The Oval Portrait - Animated Short
Juxtapostion - Light and Darkness
Edgar Allen Poe
The Oval Portrait
The use of visually descriptive or figurative language that allows the reader to create a mental representation of a written work.
The use of words to convey a meaning that is the opposite of its literal meaning.
The fact of two things being seen or placed close together with contrasting effect.
Have you ever been obsessed with something or someone ?
What was the result of that obsession ?
Thank you for listening !
How does Poe use imagery, irony, and juxtaposition to illustrate the relationship between reality and fantasy ?
Do you think the painter truly loved his wife ? Did the wife truly love the painter ?
Why do you think the story is told from the perspective of the narrator and not the painter or wife ?
Which literary device do you think best explains the story ?
When “The Oval Portrait” was first published, it included a couple of introductory paragraphs explaining why the narrator was injured and that he took opium in order to relieve his pain. Poe later removed this information due to being irrelevant.
Do you think this would have been relevant to include ? Would it change the meaning of the story ?
The story begins with the introduction of an unnamed narrator who has been injured and is seeking refuge in an abandoned chateau in the Appennines along with his valet, Pedro. Once inside, the narrator begins to admire the paintings that decorate his room and begins reading a volume found upon his pillow that describes them while using a candelabrum as a light source. A before-unnoticed painting of a young girl is discovered upon the moving of the candle due to its displeasing position. The narrator becomes fascinated by the “life-likeness” of the picture for a good hour before he eagerly consults the volume for an explanation of it. The remainder of the story is told from the volume, creating a “story within a story”. The book describes a tragic story of a young woman who loved and wedded an eccentric painter who cared more about his artwork than her. The painter eventually asked for her to sit down for him, which she dismissively did. The painter worked so diligently on the painting that he did not notice his wife’s deteriorating health to the point where she died upon completion of the painting.
The Oval Portrait contains many elements from other works by Poe. In terms of Ligeia, both stories involve the death of a beautiful woman due to deteriorating health. However, Ligeia’s death was the result of an illness while the painter’s wife’s death was caused due to her forced lifestyle. Ligeia eventually comes back by taking over Rowena’s body after she falls to illness as well.
In terms of The Masque of the Red Death, both stories involve people shutting out others (the king and the kingdom, the painter and his wife), characters having wild obsessions (the king obsessed with chasing the masked man in order to find out his identity, the painter obsessed with painting his wife), and the obsessions leading up to death (the king and his guests dying from the Red Death, the painter’s wife dying due toher husband’s constant painting).
" ... but in the next, while he yet gazed, he grew tremulous and very pallid, and aghast, and crying with a loud voice, 'This is indeed Life itself!' turned suddenly to regard his beloved: -- She was dead!" (44)
"And he was a passionate, and wild, and moody man, who became lost in reveries; so he would not see that the light which fell so ghastly in that lone turret withered the health and the spirits of his bride." (44)
"But she was humble and obedient, and sat meekly for many weeks in the dark high turret-chamber where the light dripped upon the pale canvas only from overhead, ..." (43-44)
" ... so that I bade Pedro to close the heavy shutters of the room -- since it was already night -- to light the tongues of a tall candelabrum which stood by the head of my bed -- and to throw open far and wide the fringed curtains of black velvet which enveloped the bed itself." (43)
"Long -- long I read -- and devoutly, devotedly I gazed. Rapidly and gloriously the hours flew by and the deep midnight came. The position of the candelabrum displeased me, and outreaching my hand with difficulty, rather than disturb my slumbering valet, I placed it so as to throw its rays more fully upon the book." (43)
"And he would not see that the tints which he spread upon the canvas were drawn from the cheeks of her who sate beside him,”. (44)
"It was a mere head and shoulders, done in what is technically termed a vignette manner; much in the style of the favorite heads of Sully. The arms, the bosom, and even the ends of the radiant hair melted imperceptibly into the vague yet deep shadow which formed the back-ground of the whole." (43)
"But it could have been neither the execution of the work, nor the immortal beauty of the countenance, which had so suddenly and so vehemently moved me. Least of all, could it have been that my fancy, shaken from its half slumber, had mistaken the head for that of a living person." (43)
Poe uses imagery to describe the paintings in the room and the deceptive impressions that they give off.
The use of irony allows to emphasize the relationship between the painter, his wife, and the picture the painter is creating of his wife.
The use of juxtaposition helps to emphasize the contrast between reality and the illusion of it through the use of light vs. darkness.