Purloined Letter Essay, Research Paper
A Critical Analysis of ?The Purloined Letter?
by Edgar Allan Poe
Edgar Allan Poe?s background influenced him to write the short story ?The
Purloined Letter?. One important influence on the story is that Poe seem to feel inferior to
his class mates while in college, which may have been why he wrote Dupin to be seen as
superior to his colleagues. While at the University of Virginia he owed others high
amounts of money because of gambling, he would drink excessively to help hide his
feelings of inadequacy. (Taylor) The second influence on this short story I believe is Poe?s
extent in the United States Army. He time in the military was unsuccessful. Because of his
experience he made the Perfect of the police a little lacking in intelligence. This
background, together with a believable plot, convincing characterization, and important
literary devices, enables Edgar Allan Poe in ?The Purloined Letter? to develop the them
that characteristic of the human animal to overlook the obvious.
This story does not have a surprise ending nor does is really have a sense of
suspense. You know from the beginning who took the letter, but you do not know what
information was contained in the letter and how that information would have affect the
queen. The only surprise may be in where the letter was keep throughout the story, in
plain site. The Perfect of the police searched the Minister?s lodgings many nights while
the Minister was out. Looked from every possible angle trying to find the letter, not
succeeding any of those times. After looking the Perfect went to Dupin asking for his help.
He explains what he has already done. After listing to what the Perfect has to say, Dupin
goes to see the Minister. While he is there he looks around. On one of the walls he sees a
tack board on which the letter is tacked. He takes a careful look at it. Excuses himself for
the day. Dupin ?forgets? his snuffbox, so he may return the next day with a copy of the
letter and take the real letter and return it to it?s rightful owner. In the fake letter Dupin
lets the Minister know that he knows what is going on between the Minister and the
Queen. The type of conflict face Dupin is that of others. How he interface with the other
characters. He has solved the mystery but has to work around the Minister. While doing
this he seeks revenge for an event that happened in the past.
The protagonist of ?The Purloined Letter? is Dupin, the detective. He is right on
the money while talking about how humans over look the most obvious things. That is
how he came to find where the letter was hidden while visiting the Minister. Dupin is
consistent in his behavior. He always acts as if he is better than everyone else that he come
in contact with. The is shown in the way that he tells a story about big and small signs,
which leads to the solving of the not so missing letter. He says that most people over look
the obvious, sense he did not over look it, the letter, he is not the average person. His
motivation is to show that he is better than the average person. He displays that just for
the fact that he is a detective.
One of the many literary devices used by Poe is that of foreshadowing. One place
where that is used is near the beginning where it says ?If it is any point requiring
reflection,? observed Dupin, as he forbore to enkindle the wick,? we shall examine it to
better purpose in the dark.? Which implies that the case is so simple that it can be solved
in the dark. He said this before hearing anything about the case or the reason for the visit
from the Perfect of the police. Poe also use humor throughout the short story. ??Perhaps
the mystery is a little to plain,? said Dupin .? Saying that the Perfect is not smart and
making the mystery out harder than it actually is.
I believe that the short story ?The Purloined Letter? by Edgar Allan Poe is good
story about human nature. How us humans tend to over look the obvious. The way Poe
achieves this taking to types of people and showing how they see the same situation
different ways. Many times you just need to look at the situation from another
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