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The Dark Side of Human Nature: Poe and Hawthorne

            Section 1: A description of the dark side of human nature.
             Human nature is "the general psychological characteristics, feelings, and behavioural traits of humankind, regarded as shared by all humans." (Oxford English Dictionary). The dark side of human nature is the part of humans that dwells in negative thoughts or actions such as revenge, hate, violence, murder, and all seemingly evil things. But what is the dark side of human nature and how does it motivate evil, and how is it perceived differently? Evil is profoundly immoral and/or malevolent and occurs when someone knows what they are doing is wrong and continue to do so. Dark Romantic authors like Edgar Allen Poe and Nathaniel Hawthorne use gothic elements in order to portray the dark and gloomy undertones of the psyche of the stories' characters, and through the characters, essentially the nature of all humans. .
             Section 2: Hawthorne and Poe consistently revealing the dark side of human nature.
             The Dark Romantics focuses on the psychological effects of the conflict between good and evil, guilt and sin, and psychotic behaviour. It shows the dark side of human nature through stories of revenge, shame, obsession, and madness. Both Poe and Hawthorne examine different aspects of the darker side of human nature. Dark Romantics emphasizes human unreliability and proneness to sin and self-destruction, having a less optimistic view on mankind, human nature, and religion like Emerson's transcendental thinking (Lyttle 86-88). Poe is most famous for his psychological thrillers where he reveals his thoughts that all human nature is dark and malicious. He expresses dark and gloomy moods through the use of the themes death, revenge and destruction, and the use of gothic settings. He filled his stories with grotesque details like burying people alive, murder, decaying mansions, and people plagued with insanity. Unlike Hawthorne, Poe did not give many examples of moral messages in his work because he wanted readers to come to their own conclusions about human nature.

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