Fantastic ElementsEdgar Allan Poe "The Black Cat", "The Fall of the House of Usher"
Romanticism created the unique world of literature, combining good and evil, past and future, imagination and reality. It is full of dark mysteries, horrible secrets, extraordinary elements, melancholy and historical events. Sometimes the border between human imagination and real life becomes so vague that it is almost impossible to distinguish the truth. Moreover, the composition of the works of that period was quite predetermined by their tendency for the unusual and supernatural. The reader can found there a complicated plot, dynamic development of the events and unexpected, sudden changes in the destinies of characters. As usual, a dramatic conflict, which is solved with the help of the discovery of secrets, mysterious meetings, accidents or supernatural forces, is put into the basis. Besides, a lot of symbols and allusions are used in order to create a special mood of a story. These are the main features of Romanticism. Still, it would be better to look at concrete works of that period in order to understand all the peculiarities.
Edgar Allan Poe is one of the most prolific and popular authors of Romanticism. His works amaze the reader with their style, perfect language and, of course, unpredictable ends. Poe as if plays with the reader’s imagination and mind. He can be considered the master of tales of terror, imagination, and suspense. His studies may be roughly divided into horror stories and detective stories. Although fantastic elements play the essential role in both genres, horror stories draw much attention to mystery and unity of real and unreal. Still, Poe’s fantastic elements do not remind of a fairy tale – his imaginary world is cruel and dark, creating quite a pessimistic mood. “The Black Cat” and “The Fall of the House of Usher” are the finest examples of Poe’s fantasy and imagination.
The main hero – man - is caught in the clutch of mysterious or supernatural forces. He is already close to madness. What is more, he even admits this fact. “For the most wild yet most homely narrative which I am about to pen, I neither expect nor solicit belief. Mad indeed would I be to expect it, in a case where my very senses reject their own evidence”, - points out the main hero of “The Black Cat” (Poe, 1960: 103).
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