A Tentative Analysis on Edgar Allan Poe’s Gothic Style

来源:南粤论文中心 作者:张娟 发表于:2010-10-20 11:47  点击:
【关健词】Gothic Poe Horror Death Dark
Gothic, a fearful genre for a fearful time, grows in the last decades of the eighteenth century. In the horror fictions of Edgar Allan Poe the ambience are manifest and it has become the style and sign of his works. Poe's stories and poems were some

1 Introduction
  Gothic fiction is a type of novel or romance popular in the late 18th century and early 19th century. The word” Gothic” had come to means “wild”,” barbarous” and “crude”. Gothic novels were usually set in the past (most often the medieval past) and in foreign countries (particularly the catholic countries of southern Europe); they took place in monasteries, castles, dungeons, and mountainous landscapes. The plots focused on suspense and mystery, involving the fantastic and the supernatural. The first Gothic novel should be Horace Walpole's The Castle of Otranto (1764). Later novelists associated with the fashion for Gothic were Clara Reeve, Ann Radcliffe, William Beckford, M.G.Leuis and C.R.Maturin. In the development the characteristic theme is the stranglehold of the past upon the present, or the encroachment of the dark' ages of oppression upon the 'enlightened' modern era. In Gothic romances and tales this theme is embodied typically in enclosed and haunted settings, such as castles, crypts, convents, or gloomy mansions, in images of ruin and decay, and in episodes of imprisonment, cruelty, and persecution.
  The great popularity for Gothic novels occurred in Britain and Ireland in the three decades after 1790, culminating in the appearance of C.P.Maturin's Melmoth the Wanderer (1820). During this period, the leading writer of the new genre was Ann Radcliffe, whose major works were proper in their exhibitions of refined sensibility and of virtue in distress. Radcliffe's formula was followed by numerous clumsy plagiarists in the popular market for chapbooks and shilling shockers', but she also inspired a few more talented imitators. The critical fortunes of Gothic writing since Walpole's time have swung intermittently between derision of its hoary clich s and enthusiasm for its atmospheric, psychologically suggestive power. From either side, the Gothic tradition is usually considered a junior or marginal rival to the mainstream of fictional realism. Walpole inaugurated the tradition in the hope that the lifelike solidity of realism might be recorded with the imaginative range of romance.
  2 Gothicism in Poe's Masterpieces——The Masque of the Red Death, The Black Cat
  2.1 Gothic Tradition in The Masque of the Red Death
  The Masque of the Red Death,happens in a recast haunted abbey, penetrated by a wick "villain," who kills all who have sought refuge there. The abbey, however, very much resembles the interior of a human head, and, given the repeated allusions to blood and time, meanwhile blood and time symbolizes the plague raging without may in reality be normal qualities of human life, which cannot be avoided, even by the inhabitants of Prince Propero's dream world-delusive though that so frightening to them, they are so because they fear realities of time and death, symbolized by blood, which, as concerns ordinary life, is temporal. The colors red and black may represent life, particularly as it is maintained through sexuality, and concluded in death, as it is represented by the awesome ebony clock. The tale ends in the scarlet and black chamber, its color scheme recalling the story of Rahab the prostitute's scarlet cord, which saves her and her family from the death (i.e., blackness) apportioned out to the other citizens of Jericho, repeats the promotion-termination-of-life that structures the cycle. (6:88)
In The Masque of the Red Death Poe adapts many conventions of traditional, including the setting of a castle. The multiple single-toned rooms may be representative of the human mind, showing different personality of human beings. The vivid description of blood and time throughout also indicate corporeality. The plague may, in fact, be typical attributes of human life and mortality. However, there is much dispute over how to interpret The Masque of the Red Death, including those who suggest it is not allegorical, especially because of Poe's admission of distaste for didacticism in literature. If the story really does have a moral, Poe showed restraint by not explicitly stating that moral in the text. Blood along with the color red, throughout the tale, serves as an oddly paradoxical dual symbol. For one, it represents death in the story. However, it also represents life. This is emphasized by the masked figure, never explicitly stated to be the actual Red Death but only a celebrater in a costume of the Red Death, making his initial appearance in the most eastern room. This room is colored blue, a color most often associated with birth. Though Prospero's castle is supposed to serve as a protective location, meant to keep the sickness out, it is ultimately an oppressive structure. Its maze-like design and tall and narrow windows become almost-like in the final black room, so oppressive that "there were few of the company bold enough to set foot within its precincts at all." Additionally, the castle is meant to be a closed space but the stranger is still able to get in, suggesting that control is an illusion. (责任编辑:南粤论文中心)转贴于南粤论文中心: http://www.nylw.net(代写代发论文_毕业论文带写_广州职称论文代发_广州论文网)