Poe is widely known for his literature in the genre of horror. We will be discussing three of Poe's masterpieces: "The Raven", "The Cask of Amontillado", and "The Tell-Tale Heart", each containing its own unique way of making the reader feel uneasy.
"The Raven" begins by explaining that the narrator is "weak and tired" yet cannot fall asleep. We soon find out that the narrator is depressed because he lost his love, Lenore. He then hears a knocking at the door. He works up the courage to go to the door and see who is there, but finds nothing but "darkness." The narrator then yells, "Lenore?" hoping that his love has returned. After receiving no reply, he returns inside and opens a window. An unknown bird then flies into his home and upon closer inspection it is (you guessed it) a raven. The narrator begins to ask the bird questions and the bird always replies, "Nevermore." The narrator continues to ask the bird questions, even though he knows what the bird's reply will be. The narrator finally asks the raven whether he will ever see his love, Lenore, again. The bird obviously replies with, "Nevermore." Therefore, it is concluded that the narrator will always be without his true love, leaving his soul trapped for eternity.
"The Cask of Amontillado" is a story of revenge between Montresor and Fortunato. Montresor begins the story by saying Fortunato has inflicted a "thousand injuries and insults" upon Montresor's familly. Montresor takes advantage of Fortunato's love for wine and convinces him to come verify whether or not what Montresor possesses is true Amontillado. Fortunato follows Montresor down into his vaults. Montresor cleverly gives Fortunato several tastes of different wines along the way to the prestigious Amontillado. By the time that the two arrive at the Amontillado (that is not even present), Fortunato is drunk, giving Montresor the opportunity to chain Fortunato to the wall of the crypts. Montresor then proceeds to wall in Fortunato as they both partake in what seems to be a friendly conversation until Fortunato realises what is happening. Fortunato then begs Montresor to stop, but to no avail.
"The Tell-Tale Heart" is the story of a murder. An unknown narrator begins the story by stating he has killed a man but plans to defend his sanity. The narrator says he had been observing an old man sleeping every night for a week and is terrified of the man's abnormal eye. On the eighth night, the narrator randomly believes that it is the correct time to kill the old man. The old man awakens in terror and yelps before the narrator has the chance to kill him. The narrator quickly goes through with the task of murdering the old man. He then dismembers the body and hides the parts under the floorboards. Police soon show up, saying that the neighbors heard a yelp. The narrator remains chatty and at ease; the police suspect nothing of the man. However, the narrator then begins to hear a thumping and soon assumes its the old man's heart beating beneath the floorboards. The narrator becomes paranoid and confesses to the police, telling them to lift the floorboards for evidence. He is then convicted but believes that he is not insane, he did not act as if a mad man would.
Question: Which of Poe's three pieces invoked the most uneasiness or terror in you and why?