Edgar Allen Poe's Gothic Horror Stories

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Events in Author, Edgar Allen Poe’s tortured life are mirrored in the stories that he wrote. The tragic death of his mother, the death of his wife (also his cousin), and the events that led up to his suicide attempt later in life explain why he used the three elements typical gothic setting, hideous secrets, and women as victims in his gothic horror stories. These elements are evident in his stories The Masque of the Red Death, The Tell-Tale Heart, The Black Cat, The Cask of Amontillado, and Morella. Poe had many hardships in his life. These hardships started when Poe was just two years of age. His mother Elizabeth died of tuberculosis, a horrible bacterial infection that can spread through the lymph nodes and bloodstream to any organ in…show more content…
One of the best stories that illustrate this element is The Tell-Tale Heart. In the story the narrator (the care-taker) has just murdered the old man whom which he care for, because his “Evil Eye” has drove him mad. The care-taker then proceeded to cut up the old man into pieces and bury him under the floor boards so precisely that no one would know he was there. The care-taker then hears a knock at the door. So he opens it and there stands three police officers who were called by neighbors do to the old man’s shriek, they suspected foul play. The care-taker invites the officers inside and convinces them that no one was harmed. While the care-taker is talking to the officers he starts to hear a beating heart. This beating gets louder and louder and eventually drives him mad, so mad that he confesses that he killed the old man and thus revealing the hideous secret. Hideous secrets are also an element in The Masque of the Red Death, in the story the “Red Death” outbreaks in a fictional country where this story is set, and it causes victims to die rapidly and horrendously. Even though this disease is spreading rampantly, the prince, Prospero, feels happy and hopeful. He decides to lock the gates of his palace in order to fend off the plague, ignoring the illness ravaging the land. After several months, he throws a fancy masquerade ball. At midnight, a new guest appears, dressed more ghoulishly than his equals. His mask looks like the face of a corpse, his clothes resemble a funeral veil, and his face reveals spots of blood suggesting that he is a victim of the Red Death. Prospero becomes angry that someone with so little humor and light-heartedness would join his party. The other guests, however, are so afraid of this masked man that they fail to prevent him from walking through each room. Prospero finally catches up to the new guest in the black-and-red room. As soon as he confronts the figure, Prospero dies.
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