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Deaths Impact on the Plots of Edgar Allen Poe's Works

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Andrew Carpenter

on 14 February 2014

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Transcript of Deaths Impact on the Plots of Edgar Allen Poe's Works

Deaths Impact on the Plots of Edgar Allen Poe's Works
The Way out
Death in The Descent into the Maelstrom
The story is a retelling of a man’s experience within a Maelstrom, that tells the tragic tale of how he lost his brothers and escaped the Maelstrom’s vortex
The Premature Burial, and The Masque of the Red Death the main characters are scared or led to their demise and insanity by a fear, realization, and disregard of death. The theme of death is the foundation to the plots of A Descent into the Maelstrom, The Premature Burial, and The Masque of the Red Death.
The theme of death in A Descent into the Maelstrom is the infrastructure to the story’s plot.
In the story the actions of the characters are driven by the realization that they are about to face their death
For example the way the second brother in the story died from the shock and horror surrounding his impending death. The storyteller saw his brother try to escape his death and reports “I saw him attempt this act- although I knew he was a madman when he did it-a raving maniac through sheer fright (Poe 240).”
The only reason that he died was because of the theme of death; the realization of his possible death caused him to not react to the situation and drown to death. Without the theme of death in that scene the plot would have not the way it did, it could have resulted in more than one Maelstrom survivor. An element of horror would have been removed from the story,
The theme of death was developed in the story to set the mood and add suspense to the plot.
The storyteller describes the upcoming Maelstrom as sounding like the “moaning of a vast herd of buffaloes” (Poe 231), and looking like a “jet-black wall of water” (Poe 232) and as the “mighty cataract of Niagara”(Poe 232).
Words such as black and mighty forebode death as it sets the mood as dark with visualization. The comparisons add suspense by building up the method of death with descriptions comparing it to indomitable things like Niagara Falls or herds of buffaloes.
Without death setting up suspense and mood in the plot progression the story would have dragged on and not contained the common and exciting dark and ominous elements that found and make Poe’s stories exciting.
The Premature Burial
The short story details on multiple cases of premature burials and uncovers the narrator’s deep fear of death. Without the narrator’s fear of death he would have acted very differently and the plot would have proceeded differently, as well.
narrator’s description of his thoughts arising from fearing death by premature burial. The thoughts had “full possession of [his] my memory” (Poe 356), it caused him to “struggle… to sleep” (Poe 357), and it created an obsession.
There would be no problem to be solved in the resolution or objective of the premature burial cases. Without the narrators deep fear of death the story would be no more than the obituary in a newspaper.
The narrator’s word choice builds up the mood of death. The narrator describes a premature burial as “the unendurable oppression of the lungs....the stifling fumes of Earth… the clinging of death garments…blackness of night…and silence like a sea (Poe 355).”
Words such as oppression, stifling, blackness, and silence all are enhancing the dark mood that shrouds death. If the narrator’s diction was less descriptive in forming the mood, the fear of death would not have been prominent in The Premature Burial.
The plot would have not had a rising action in the description of the premature burial without the theme of death assisting the plot.
The Masque of Red Death
In The Masque of Red Death the main character is a Prospero, a Prince, who stays locked away in his castle while the plague, Red Death, ravishes his country and he disregards the possibility of his death.
Prospero’s disregard of death is the action that drives the plot. As he “entertained his thousand friends at a masked ball of the most unusual magnificence” (Poe 262), Prospero disregarded the possibility of spreading the plague that could result in the death of many people, adding to the plot, it supplements suspense to the masquerade creating the conflict of the possibility of death.
With the theme of death not present in the story there would be no suspense and the plot would have no rising action or climax, it would just be a description of a party.
Poe not only use his character’s actions to support the plot, he also uses symbolism.
At the party there are seven rooms that are all painted different colors. The rooms move from east to west and the last room is painted black and has a loud ringing clock.
rooms move from east to west and the last room is painted black and has a loud ringing clock. The progression of the rooms from east to west represents the cycle of life with the sun rising in the east and falling in the west. The last black room with the clock represents the end of life and the sound of the clock every hour is a reminder that death is coming.
In the resolution of the story Prospero dies from Red Death when he follows a masked man, who has Red Death, into the final room. The symbolism foreshadows that the life-cycle is going to end. The symbolism’s addition of foreshadowing death strengthens the plot, because it makes the rising and falling action of the plot even more exciting with suspense.
This suspense is that any moment the plague can fatally end the party, yet the guests and Prospero continue with the event. The disregard of death by the guests and Prospero creates and exciting plot in The Masque of Red Death.
To Conclude...
Death builds the foundation of the plots.
In all three stories the characters actions are all based of death, either the realization of, fear of, or disregard of it. When the theme of death is removed from the plot all of the famous short stories are no long stories.
With no death, they are just reports of events, with no rising action, climax, or resolution. If Poe’s stories did not have the theme of death then the stories would not have plots.

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