Essay on Edgar Allan Poe's The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar

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Edgar Allan Poe's The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar Edgar Allan Poe's The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar is one of his more interesting works. Granted, this is one of his lesser-known works, but nevertheless this short story is clear example of the obsession theme that is so prominent in the majority of Poe's work. In fact, the obsession the narrator in the story closely resembles Poe himself because he was somewhat obsessed or infatuated with mesmerism for a while. This could be one example where Poe allows the reader into himself (as the narrator) or this could be yet another of Poe's tricks on his audience. In either case, this is a fascinating work that combines his trademark Gothic style with numerous customs and ideas of…show more content…
Here his characters seem out of touch with reality and are normally obsessed with something. Obsession in a psychological term is defined as "An idea or image that repeatedly intrudes upon the mind of a person against his will and is usually distressing." Any number of Poe's characters show this, for example, the narrator in Annabel Lee is clearly obsessed with his dead wife as he visits her "sepulcher by the sea." In fact, it even seemed that Poe was obsessed with mesmerism. Mesmerism was a pseudo-science that was developed by Dr. Franz Anton Mesmer in the 18th century. It involves some social role-playing with the mesmerizer making suggestions and his clients becoming absolutely mesmerized by him. Mesmer used his extraordinary powers of suggestion to send people into frenzied convulsions or sleeplike trances. Mesmer claimed that he could "cure" various ailments with his technique and his ideas became somewhat popular due to the social reform caused by the Industrial Revolution. The idea of mesmerism (and other forms of spiritualism for that matter) quickly gained recognition for being able to give meaning to the world as religion and faith were becoming secondary to Science. Mesmerism was a science developed by Dr. Franz Anton Mesmer in the late 1700s. It is very much like modern hypnotism in that the mesmerizer (hypnotist) makes suggestions to his clients who then become mesmerized (hypnotized) by his suggestions and actions. The mesmeric state is
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