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  • Edgar Allan Poe Essay Topics: Inventing Original Ideas

    As the master horror writer and poet, Edgar Allan Poe has remained a popular author for centuries. English professors will often assign reading assignments and essays on Edgar Allan Poe's best works. If students need to write an essay about Poe, they can use some of the following creative ideas to get started.

    Original Ideas for Edgar Allan Poe Essays

    1. Within the stories “William Wilson” and “The Fall of the House of Usher”, Poe uses the concept of the character double or the doppelganger. How does the doppelganger demonstrate the different aspects of someone's personality? How does Poe demonstrate the philosophical split that occurs in their mind and body?
    2. How are families portrayed in stories like “The Cask of Amontillado” and “The Fall of the House of Usher”? Edgar Allan Poe often used descriptions of being buried alive in his stories. Was Poe afraid of being buried alive? How did his personal fears affect his writing?
    3. Why does Poe have his main character, Dupin, solve such wildly different crimes in stories like “The Purloined Letter” and “The Murders in the Rue Morgue”?
    4. Famously, the narrator in “The Tell-Tale Heart” is driven mad by the ominous sound of a beating heart before he confesses his crimes. In “The Black Cat”, the second cat is used to show the narrator's guilty conscience about his actions. 5. How does Poe use the confessions of these individuals in his stories? How does he cause the reader to question the narrator's sanity?
    5. In “The Purloined Letter”, how does Dupin show his mathematical aptitude?
    6. In “The Pit and the Pendulum”, the reader is never exposed to the human element of the Inquisition. Instead, Poe illustrates the cruelty of the setting through the rats, the pit and the pendulum. How does creating an evil setting serve as a better way to illustrate this cruelty?
    7. In “Ligeria”, Poe uses a lot of black and white imagery. Is this supposed to indicate some of the tensions around slavery that existed at the time?
    8. In “The Cask of Amontillado”, the surrounding setting takes its revenge. How does killing Fortunato in the crypt contain elements of irony?
    9. How is the narrator of “William Wilson” different from the narrator in “The Tell-Tale Heart”? Is the narrator used in “William Wilson” truly insane?
    10. The palace setting in “The Masque of the Red Death” is supposed to be allegorical. Academicians believe that Poe intended it to show that death is inevitable. Is this true? What evidence in the story indicates the truth or the inaccuracy of this statement?

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