Edgar Allan Poe and Lawful Universe in A Descent into the Maelstrom and The Masque of the Red Death Comparison

Essay by BiggyBoyHigh School, 11th gradeA, October 2004

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The ways of a lawful universe are well illustrated in a metaphorical sense through controversy literature by Edgar Allen Poe. The world as an organized and orderly response to society's actions are best conveyed in two of Poe's short stories, including: "A Decent Into The Maelstrom" and "The Masque Of The Red Death."

In "A Decent Into The Maelstrom," the ways of the world proved to benefit the fisherman in his efforts to not submit to his intuition, but rather to handle his situation in a counter- intuitive manner. The fisherman, having lost a brother to the growing whirlpool, observed his surroundings and the ways of the universe to find a lawful reasoning and find a way to escape death in his time of crisis. Although the fisherman was able to "hypothesize the higher hypothesis" towards the end of the story, he was a victim to terror, or the unknown.

Still, at the end of the story, he was unable to realize the significance of the discovery he had made. The fisherman's humane methods during the storm not only benefitted himself, but it also contributed to the greater good of humanity.

"The Masque Of The Red Death" illustrates the importance of facing reality in the time of crisis. In the story, the Prince created a fairytale-like setting within his home in order to accommodate his own desires and disguise the truth that had the potential to harm him and his guests. In a response to the actions of the Prince and his guests, the truth found its way within, via the chiming of the clock, reminding the guests of the reality of time and its organic characteristics, and the unwanted guest. Poe illustrates that the greater good of humanity was to rid of the denying and...