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:Edgar Allan Poe:


Criticism of “The Tell-Tale Heart” by Martha Womack

            “...human nature is a delicate balance of light and dark or good and evil. Most of the time this precarious balance is maintained; however, when there is a shift, for whatever reason, the dark or perverse side surfaces. How and why this "dark side" emerges differs from person to person. What may push one individual "over the edge" will only cause a raised eyebrow in another. In this case, it is the "vulture eye" of the old man that makes the narrator's blood run cold. It is this irrational fear which evokes the dark side, and eventually leads to murder. The narrator plans, executes and conceals the crime; however, "[w]hat has been hidden within the self will not stay concealed...." (Silverman 208) The narrator speaks of an illness that has heightened the senses: "Above all was the sense of hearing acute. I heard all things in the heavens and in the earth. I heard many things in hell." The narrator repeatedly insists that he(she) is not mad; however the reader soon realizes that the fear of the vulture eye has consumed the narrator, who has now become a victim to the madness which he had hoped to elude.”

Criticism of “The Raven” by Christoffer Hallqvist

“…Poe had an extensive vocabulary, which is obvious to the readers of both his poetry as well as his fiction. Sometimes this meant introducing words that were not commonly used. In "The Raven," the use of ancient and poetic language seems appropriate, since the poem is about a man spending most of his time with books of "forgotten lore."

 - "Seraphim": in the fourteenth verse, "perfumed by an unseen censer / Swung by seraphim whose foot-falls tinkled..." is used to illustrate the swift, invisible way a scent spreads in a room. A seraph is one of the six-winged angels standing in the presence of God.

 - "Nepenthe": from the same verse, is a potion, used by ancients to induce forgetfulness of pain or sorrow.

 - "Balm in Gilead": from the following verse, is a soothing ointment made in Gilead, a mountainous region of Palestine east of the Jordan river.

- "Aidenn": from the sixteenth verse, is an Arabic word for Eden or paradise.

- "Plutonian": characteristic of Pluto, the god of the underworld in Roman mythology…”


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