Point Of View, Symbolism, And Imagery as Evident in Edgar Allan Poe’s Literary Devices

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Through various literary works – poems and stories included – the literary devices of imagery, point of view, and symbolism have been used to different ends. For example, symbolism is employed to allude to some widely-known concepts, entities, or places in many works. Conversely, imagery serves to bring audiences as psychologically close as possible to the concept being described in the particular work. On its part, the point of view literary device introduces an emotional or personal appeal to a specific literary work. In relation to this, after examining Edgar Allan Poe’s The Cask of Amontillado short story as well as The Raven poem, I have detected the author’s excellent usage of the aforementioned literary devices. To illustrate, in The Cask of Amontillado story, Poe employs imagery to invoke vivid mental images in audiences’ minds regarding the concept being described.

For example, Poe uses imagery to describe the route that both Fortunato and Montresor take inside Montresor’s inner house chambers. This aspect makes readers to have a vivid mental image of the dank recesses into which the duo ventures. Further, the author employs a first-person point of view, thus enabling Montresor to relate a tale about his own experiences. This aspect makes the story, which is told fifty years after its events have occurred, to sound credible. Moreover, the symbolism is very evident whereby Fortunato’s dressing style signifies his impending victimization by Montresor. On the other hand, through The Raven poem, Poe demonstrates symbolism by describing a raven visiting an estranged lover. Having ominous connotations in the Biblical world, this bird thus spells doom for the aggrieved lover.

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In addition, the narrator of the poem relates the associated story from the first-person point of view. This aspect gives urgency and additional life to the poem readers have empathy with the distressed lover. Finally, the narrator’s detailed explanation of the events of the poem propels readers to develop clear mental images of the events. This element makes readers to comprehensively understand some of the poem’s significant sections. In conclusion, as Poe develops the themes and the plots of The Cask of Amontillado story as well as The Raven poem, he makes excellent use of the literary devices of imagery, point of view, and symbolism.

For instance, to demonstrate imagery in The Cask of Amontillado story, Montresor explains the condition of the surroundings by saying that ‘The vaults are insufferably damp’ (Literature.org. – The Online Literature Library). This statement makes readers to visualize the extremely moist environment that Montresor and Fortunato are in. In turn, readers grasp the enormity of the ill intentions of Montresor towards Fortunato.

Likewise, through The Raven poem, the narrator offers a thorough description of how and when the raven bird comes visiting, thus making readers to form mental images that designate the bird as evil. For instance, the narrator reports that on a ‘bleak December’ day, when ‘dying ember(s) wrought (their) ghost(s) upon the floor,’ the bird comes calling (Behme). Further, after investigating a distinct tapping on his door, the narrator reports that ‘the silence was unbroken, and the darkness gave no token’ (Behme). Such explanations arouse fear and a sense of doom. The imagery employed by the narrator thus makes readers to develop mental images that classify the raven as an evil bird.

Further, in The Cask of Amontillado story, Montresor himself describes the events that occurred in his life fifty years back, thus depicting a first-person point of view. For example, as he describes the bones that hide the wall behind which Fortunato  is buried, Montresor  remarks ‘For the half of a century no mortal has disturbed them’  (Literature.org. – The Online Literature Library). By employing the first-person viewpoint, Poe intends to introduce a degree of reliability into Montresor’s tales.

Similarly, in The Raven poem, the narrator – an alienated lover – narrates the tale, thus, according the poem an additional appeal to readers. By explaining his own story, the narrator makes readers to have pity on him. A notable example of the narrator’s touching description of his loss is the statement that he ‘ponder(s) weak and weary’ (Behme). This poignant testimonial makes readers to sense the narrator’s troubles.

In addition, the symbolism is very evident throughout The Cask of Amontillado story, thus alluding to a known entity. For instance, Fortunato’s dressing mode is described as resembling that of a common clown. The author explains that Fortunato has ‘a tight-fitting parti-striped dress and his head was surmounted by the conical cap and bells’ (Literature.org. – The Online Literature Library). Such a comical disposition foreshadows the evil trick that Montresor eventually plays on Fortunato. The victim’s dress mode, thus seemingly invites violence onto him as clowns occasionally face assaults.

Likewise, symbolism is employed in The Raven poem to denote the true nature of the bird that visits the narrator. For instance, in the Old Testament times, Noah sent a raven to check whether the flood waters had subsided. The forgetful bird, however, went away and after obtaining the required information, wandered off. It thus delayed presenting the necessary information to Noah. For this reason the bird was cursed. The poem’s raven thus alludes to this cursed bird and thus indicates ominous future times for the narrator. True to its character, the bird informs the narrator that he will ‘nevermore’ meet his beloved Lenore (Behme).

In conclusion, through his 2 literary works; The Cask of Amontillado story, as well as The Raven poem, Poe employs symbolism, imagery, as well as point of view as he builds his themes and respective plots. For instance, The Cask of Amontillado symbolism plays out when Fortunato appears dressed as a clown who can be joked with. Conversely, The Raven’s symbolism is apparent in the raven bird’s cursed nature. Regarding imagery, the 2 works employ detailed descriptive techniques to make readers to form vivid mental images. For example, the manner win, which both Montresor’s faults as well as the raven’s appearance are described indicates that the 2 entities have evil qualities. Further, the 2 works employs first person point of view narration styles so as to make readers to have empathy with the respective protagonists.

Works Cited

  1. Behme, H. Edgar Allan Poe: The Raven. Oct. 4, 2007. July 29, 2010. http://www.heise.de/ix/raven/Literature/Lore/TheRaven.html
  2. Literature.org. – The Online Literature Library. The Cask of Amontillado. July 29, 2010. http://www.literature.org/authors/poe-edgar-allan/amontillado.html

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Point Of View, Symbolism, And Imagery as Evident in Edgar Allan Poe’s Literary Devices. (2016, Jun 23). Retrieved from


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