Edgar Allan Poe was an American author known for his short stories that left readers stunned with the mystery he chose to remain. At a young age, Poe was left with no mother due to tuberculosis and soon it would cause the rest of his loved ones to depart in that same way. With the difficult experiences he dealt with his whole life, he was able to understand what others didn’t. Poe also was able to relate with women which would later on influence his writing. The style he creates for his writing includes allusion, symbolism, mood, and many more. With these literary elements, he was able to accomplish the many unique writings that have inspired and amazed the people in his time and the people of this day.
A quote from his poem, “The Raven” goes, “Perched upon a bust of Pallas just above my chamber door.” The allusion in this line helps foreshadow the plot by hinting to the reader why the bird may be there in the first place. The allusion is the reference to Pallas, who is the Greek goddess of wisdom and is often seen with a bird on its shoulder. A quote of symbolism says, “And the lamp-light –o’er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor; and my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor shall be lifted – nevermore!” This piece of symbolism represents the five stages of grief. This affects the story by allowing the reader to understand why the character may be acting the way he is. It can be suggested that human beings go through those very same stages, which allows the reader to be able to relate to what Poe is trying to convey in his poem. A quote showing the literary device of mood says, “Leave no plume as a token of that lie thy soul hath spoken!” (anger). “And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor shall be lifted – nevermore.” (acceptance). The shift in moods between the stanzas are able to benefit and clearly portray the symbolism of the story. The transition of mood from anger to acceptance, representing the stages of grief helps the reader better understand this.
A story of his called, “The Masque of the Red Death,” displays an allusion in the quote, “There were much glare and glitter and piquancy and phantasm – much of what has been since in “Hernani”.” With the allusion of Hernani, which was a famous play around Poe’s time, people back then were able to relate to this story by comparing the similar costumes shown in both. A quote of symbolism says, “Its pendulum swung to and fro with a dull, heavy, monotonous clang; and when the minute-hand made the circuit of the face, and the hour was to be stricken…” This symbolism of time represented by the ebony clock is helpful to the portrayal of the story in many ways. It being located in the red room hints and foreshadows death as it rings every hour as a constant reminder for the crowd that their time of death is soon approaching. “And the murmur of this new presence having presence having spread itself whisperingly around, there arose at length from the whole company a buzz, or murmur, expressive of disapprobation and surprise – then, finally, of terror, of horror, and of disgust.” The mood in this section of the story is able to clearly present the starting of the madness. The reaction of the crowd also helps with the foreshadowing of what the masked figure is.
A quote from, “The Cask of Amontillado” goes, “I thrust a torch through the remaining aperture and let it fall within.” The lit torch is a symbol of Fortunato’s life on Earth. This is important, because when the light finally goes out, it signals the official death of Fortunato. The lines, “My friend, no; I will not impose upon your good nature. I perceive you have an engagement. Luchesi-” and “I have an engagement; -come,” defines the mood for the rest of the story. During this part, the conversation between Montressor and Fortunato adds more suspense as this is what starts the revenge Montressor plans onto Fortunato. It is in this moment that can change the future of the characters and leaves the reader with anticipation and theories of the next possible occurrence. The Carnival season is an important allusion to the story as it sets the mood and overall plot throughout. The quote, “How?’ said he. “Amontillado, A pipe? Impossible! And in the middle of the carnival!,” truly shows the intentions of Montressor and why he chooses to do it in this time. People back then would take advantage of their time to attend the carnival and celebrate for pleasure and happiness before letting these things go for the starting of the Lent season. This was an excuse for Montressor to make a destructive decision without any sign of remorse.
The effects of symbolism, mood, and allusion overall benefit the development of the stories. With the specific mood he always chose, Poe was able to create the mysterious and suspenseful atmosphere that he tends to go for. The allusions help provide and add a stronger connection and link between Poe and the reader. In all of Poe’s stories, symbolism plays a huge factor for the purpose of certain objects and characters. It helps build the thrill of discoveries and emotions of the reader. These literary elements truly explain and represent Poe and his unique style.