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Dracula And Edgar Allan Poe's A Tell-Tale Heart

Decent Essays
All too often the gothic literature genre is reduced in its interpretation to gloomy weather and archaic haunted houses. These patterns do exist, but they do not define the genre. Gothic literature found its niche in the 18th and 19th centuries, and during the Victorian era it served a more nuanced purpose than simply to scare readers. Many gothic authors used a monster as a vessel to symbolize topics that the Victorian era sensibilities would label as “monstrous.” They are the incarnation of the taboo subjects society is trying to repress. In Bram Stoker’s Dracula and Edgar Allan Poe’s “A Tell-Tale Heart”, the authors use Freudian symbolism along with literary symbolism to demonstrate the repercussions of repressing “id” desires. The restricted societal norms of the Victorian era forced non-conforming ideas and behaviors into the shadows, much like the fictitious vampires or psychopaths. A wide swath of vampire lore reflects this repression. Vampires cannot exist in the light of day, and thus are forced to go out only under the cover of darkness. If light represents “enlightenment”, a popular literary movement in the Victorian era, then darkness must symbolize what was deemed unfit for civilized society. In “A Tell-Tale Heart”, Poe’s nameless narrator only obsesses over the old man’s vulture-eye at night. What does this have to do with repression? It can be interpreted that the narrator knows his intention to kill the old man is evil, and so he represses his desire under
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