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“Ligeia,” “The Raven,” and “The Cask:” Poe’s Untrustworthy Narrators

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  1. Introduction
  2. The narrator and his lasting obsession for his dead wife
  3. Poe makes Montresor somewhat mocking
  4. The veins of untrustworthiness
  5. Conclusion

In ?Marginalia,? published in 1844, Edgar Allen Poe wrote, ?To be thoroughly conversant with a Man's heart, is to take our final lesson in the iron-clasped volume of despair.? His outlook on humanity was somber at best, and is a theme that we see flowing through a large percentage of Poe's stories and poems. The occurrences of the stories themselves are what classic horror stories are made of. His narrators tend to rest on the brink between obsession and sanity, causing us as readers to question their motives and actions, and through vague language, Poe allows his readers to fill in the blanks. In exploring the works ?Ligeia,? ?The Raven,? and ?The Cask of Amontillado,? ranging in dates from 1838-1846, we can look specifically at Poe's narrators through their motives and actions, as well as Poe's use of language as a way to change our perception.

[...] Ligeia may have come back to the narrator, as she promised at her death, or the narrator may have simply taken a little too much opium and fallen asleep, dreaming the entire thing. Poe simply mentions the opium, without assuring that it played a part, and we begin to question the narrator's story. Raven? uses the same technique. The narrator, a student doing work in his library, is interrupted by ?rapping at [the] chamber door.? When he investigates the window, he is met by the Raven, who perches on bust of Pallas just above [the] chamber and will not leave. [...]


[...] Raven,? and Poe's Untrustworthy Narrators In ?Marginalia,? published in 1844, Edgar Allen Poe wrote, be thoroughly conversant with a Man's heart, is to take our final lesson in the iron-clasped volume of despair.? His outlook on humanity was somber at best, and is a theme that we see flowing through a large percentage of Poe's stories and poems. The occurrences of the stories themselves are what classic horror stories are made of. His narrators tend to rest on the brink between obsession and sanity, causing us as readers to question their motives and actions, and through vague language, Poe allows his readers to fill in the blanks. [...]

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