Mood of Obsession in Berenice by Edgar Allan Poe

Decent Essays
Madelyn Fontenot
English III
March 29, 2013
Mood of obsession:
Use of literary devices to enhance the mood of “Berenice”
Famous author and poet Edgar Allan Poe is well known for his writing of ill-minded scenarios and grotesque circumstances. Poe, one of America’s most ailing writers, made use of many different literary devices to develop his popular, eerie, and suspenseful mood. In “Berenice” (1835), Edgar Allan Poe creates a perturbed mood to uniquely describe love, life, and death through his use of terror inflicting diction, gloomy description, and obtuse syntax.
“Berenice” is a short horror story about a man who is going to marry his cousin, Berenice, and when she contracts a disease, she begins to deteriorate. As she slowly
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This sentence structure continues to make appearances through the entire story. Poe later says, “In the meantime my own disease—for I have been told that I should call It by no other appellation—my own disease…” (2). The emphasis on “for I have been told that I should call it by no other appellation” through the use of em-dashes, demonstrates the mood of loneliness and hopelessness that not only Egaeus feels but the reader as well. Towards the end of the story, Poe writes, “Through the gray of the early morning – among the trellised shadows of the forest at noon-day – and in the silence of my library at night, she had flitted by my eyes…” (3). Again, Poe is specifically calling out the feeling all around the home as Berenice makes an appearance which creates a mood of vividness and anxiety. Poe’s odd syntax in the short story gives succor in building the mood of fear, bewilderment, and panic.
Edgar Allan Poe’s compilations almost always exhibit moods of despair or sadness, but “Berenice” is one of his works that totally embodies this type of mood. Poe’s story of a delirious, unhealthy, and depressed man has remained a masterpiece over the years and his terror-inflicting diction, gloomy description, and obtuse syntax could easily be the reasons why. “Berenice” will always be one of Poe’s greatest short stories and will forever be praised in American literature due to its memorable mood of hopelessness and
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